VPAT for Website or Mobile Apps
What is a VPAT?
The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is a template for reporting the level of accessibility conformance of electronic and information technologies as required by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Since January 2018, WCAG compliance has been a requirement for all websites, mobile apps, and digital content of federally funded organizations.
There is a specific WCAG edition for reporting compliance with the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guideline for websites and mobile apps. Once completed, the resulting document is known as an Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR).
While the VPAT has traditionally been a tool for procurement of products and services for government agencies, commercial entities have begun to use VPATs to determine WCAG compliance and therefore compliance with the American Disabilities Act.
How do I get a VPAT for my website or mobile app?
Website or Mobile App Accessibility Audit
The first step is to have a reputable web accessibility consultant audit the website (or mobile app). It is very important not to rely solely on automated auditing tools, which can only detect ~30% of WCAG issues. For a VPAT to be accurate, manual and assistive technology testing must be included in the auditing process.
Select A VPAT Template
The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) oversees VPAT development and in February 2020, they issued the latest VPAT version 2.4. In this version, the created four different editions which are more relevant to specific markets and contract requirements. Find templates and more information here.
- VPAT 2.4 WCAG: WCAG 2.1 or ISO/IEC 40500 – W3C/WAI’s recently updated Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
- VPAT 2.4 508: Revised Section 508 standards – the U.S. Federal accessibility standard
- VPAT 2.4 EU: EN 301 549 – the European Union’s “Accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe”
- VPAT 2.4 INT: Incorporate all three of the above standards
For most, the WCAG edition will be relevant for US entities focused primarily on website or mobile app compliance.
Authoring the VPAT
Authoring the VPAT requires a high level of web accessibility expertise to first understand each element and then to be capable of interpreting the audit results to properly report each. This is why this is often outsourced to a reputable web accessibility consultant such as us. Ideally this consultant is the same person who provided the audit.
The resulting Accessibility Conformance Report then serves as record of your website or mobile app’s level of conformance to the WCAG for both Section 508 and ADA compliance.