What is a VPAT?
A VPAT is a document that outlines and explains how information and communication technology (ICT) services and products, including software, hardware, electronic content, and support documentation, adhere to the established accessibility standards and guidelines.
Once completed, the VPAT turns into a VPAT report, which is a report on accessibility conformance. VPAT reports help buyers access ICT for accessibility when doing market research and evaluating bid proposals.
A completed VPAT document is not governed by copyright laws and is not legally binding. However, quality VPAT reports accurately depict the current accessibility conformance of a product or service, regardless of whether the product or service is accessible or not, rather than containing or disclosing proprietary information. Because of this, each VPAT report is a voluntary description of how a business or group espouses accessibility.
What A VPAT Says About An Organization’s Stance On Accessibility?
The process of creating a VPAT report takes time, just like creating an inclusive workplace. Businesses and organizations need to make a concerted effort to develop an honest VPAT ACR and to address any access obstacles found during the VPAT testing.
You can identify the main principles that the writing organization or business upholds for each VPAT that has been completed. These are not stated in the VPAT, but if you read through the VPAT ACRs, the descriptions in the fillable areas will show you whether the company has an inclusive culture that values the special skills, characteristics, and knowledge of individuals with disabilities.
When examining an organization’s or company’s VPAT report, you should look for the following things in addition to compliance with the technical requirements and accessibility criteria listed in the VPAT report:
- Respect For Individuality
VPATs’ main goal is to promote inclusivity. You can determine whether a company or organization appreciates and respects people’s views and differences of opinion by looking at their VPAT ACR. When working toward VPAT accessibility, a company or organization that respects individuality, which is crucial for enhancing accessibility, will take into account the input from both neurotypical people and people with disabilities.
An organization that regularly develops and maintains the VPAT ACRs for its products or services is unquestionably endowed with the virtue of patience. Some businesses and organizations have the patience to solicit the frank feedback of individuals with disabilities regarding the usability of their products and services.
The VPAT compliance process might take longer as a result of enlisting views from various stakeholders, including people with disabilities. Still, a company or organization that is committed to accessibility will give itself the extra time they need to make sure that individuals with disabilities can participate in the VPAT testing phase of the VPAT compliance pathway.
An organization or business that supports empowering people with disabilities to succeed will include individuals with disabilities in its VPAT accessibility processes.
- Willingness To Learn
Due to the constantly evolving types of disabilities, accessibility is a dynamic field. The VPAT report of an organization can therefore reveal whether the organization is willing to learn about new and developing accessibility concerns and to re-learn them in order to continuously enhance the accessibility and quality of its products and services.
Businesses and organizations that hire third-party accessibility experts to keep an eye on the accessibility space for them and assist them in updating their VPATs demonstrate a passion for staying up to date on new accessibility concepts, as well as a desire to remove any identified accessibility blind spots or barriers.
- Collaborative Mindset
A VPAT report will reveal whether an organization has a collaborative mindset with regard to delivering accessibility or not. Organizations that are committed to accessibility understand that collaboration is important for a successful VPAT accessibility process.
They hunger to ensure their products and services are accessible and use multiple ways of achieving accessibility, including studying a VPAT example developed by accessibility professionals and encouraging open thinking so as to generate diversity of thought.
Let Your VPAT Vs. WCAG Reflections Mirror Your Organization’s Values
Don’t merely make a VPAT to satisfy legal requirements or business objectives. Every VPAT you produce should reflect how highly your organization values accessibility. Contact an accessibility specialist at (626) 486-2201 for further details and assistance in this area. Consultations are free of charge.