What is a VPAT?

A VPAT, or voluntary product accessibility template, is a rubric created to assist providers of electronic information technology (EIT) products and services in assessing how well their products and services adhere to all recognized accessibility requirements.

Though voluntary, a vendor of an EIT product or service who does not create a VPAT report for his or her EIT products or services excludes those products or services from federal procurement processes. That is because VPAT accessibility is a precondition for the procurement of EIT products and services by federal organizations.

What is VPAT accessibility?

VPAT accessibility is the practice of precisely and concisely completing the right version of the VPAT template in order to make EIT products and services understandable, meaningful, and usable for as many people as possible, especially for those with disabilities.

A well-written VPAT report outlines the accessibility requirements that apply to the targeted EIT product or service, the product or service’s level of conformance with the pertinent accessibility criteria and technical specifications, and how the product or service meets each of the applicable criteria and technical specifications.

The VPAT 2.4 template

The VPAT 2.4 template is the most recent version of the VPAT, even though the original VPAT 2.0 template is perhaps the one that is most well known. Similar to the first version of the VPAT, version 2.4 offers a column for documenting compliance with each requirement of accessibility standard or recommendation that is pertinent to an EIT product or service.

The VPAT 2.4 template expanded the VPAT to include the leading EIT accessibility standards, namely, the Revised Section 508 Standards, the European Union (EU) EN 301 459 Standards, and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

By adopting four levels of conformance—supports, partially supports, does not support, and not applicable, version 2.4 of the VPAT template enable manufacturers of vendors EIT products and services to specify how closely their products and services adhere to the accepted accessibility standards or guidelines. 

In contrast to the previous VPAT version, “partially supports” is used instead of “supports with exceptions” in the VPAT 2.4 version. This change was made at the request of representatives of the U.S. Access Board.

In addition, ITI produced four different editions of the VPAT 2.4 in response to user feedback. As a result, vendors and manufacturers of EIT products and services can focus on developing Accessibility Conformance Reports (ACRs) for their EIT products and services that adhere to the standards necessary for certain markets and contractual constraints. The four editions are VPAT 2.4 Rev 508, VPAT 2.4 Rev EU, VPAT 2.4 Rev WCAG, and VPAT 2.4 INT.

VPAT 2.4 Rev 508 helps manufacturers and vendors of EIT products and services to create ACRs with a focus on the U.S. federal Section 508 accessibility standards. The development of ACRs that meet the accessibility requirements necessary for the European Union purchase of EIT goods and services is made possible by VPAT 2.4 Rev EU.

VPAT 2.4 Rev WCAG and VPAT 2.4 INT enable the creation of ACRs with a focus on the WCAG guidelines and the global market, respectively.

The VPAT version 2.4 also has a column for explaining each reported accessibility conformance level in greater detail.

Need help from leading VPAT 2022 accessibility experts?

A VPAT 2.4 example from a VPAT accessibility expert can help you to understand what distinguishes this version of the VPAT from previous versions. For further helpwith completion of the VPAT 2.4 template, call (626) 486-2201 to talk to an accessibility expert.

By Manali