The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is a template for reporting the level of Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) conformance of websites, web apps, mobile apps and their digital content, as required by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Since Section 508's update in January 2018, WCAG compliance has been a requirement for all websites, mobile apps, and digital content of federal agencies and federally funded institutions. 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 in order to meet Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act's digital accessibility requirements, commercial entities now use VPATs & ACRs to demonstrate ADA compliance as well. Both the ADA and 508 base accessibility on the same WCAG. Whether you're a public or commercial entity, an ACR serves as a common format for documenting the accessibility of a digital property.
Current VPAT Versions
In its latest version 2.5 released in fall 2023 4 versions of the VPAT were updated to better suit the requirements of different procurement entities in the US and Europe while accommodating for WCAG 2.2.
- VPAT 2.5 Rev 508: Revised Section 508 standards – the U.S. Federal accessibility standard
- VPAT 2.5 Rev EU: EN 301 549 – the European Union’s “Accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe”
- VPAT 2.5 Rev WCAG: WCAG 2.0-2.2 or ISO/IEC 40500 (equivalent to WCAG 2.0) plus WCAG 2.1 and 2.2 updated Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
- VPAT 2.5 INT: Incorporates all three of the above standards
VPAT & ACR Process
In terms of process, a VPAT reports the results of a complete WCAG audit of the website or mobile application, so the audit comes first and it should be fresh. Not anyone is qualified to assess and execute a VPAT. To properly author a VPAT one must have a high level of WCAG and accessibility knowledge, and experience authoring VPATs. Therefore, VPAT authoring is often outsourced to professionals such as us. We author the VPAT and provide the final Accessibilty Conformance Report (ACR) for you.
Our team conducting the audit and subsequent VPAT all have over 19 years in digital accessibility consulting, and our team lead serves on the WCAG 3.0 team. We conduct best-practice audits using human testing methods to inform the authoring of the VPAT with accuracy and confidence.
Contact us and we can discuss what your VPAT & ACR needs are and how we can assist within your timeline and budget.