What is 508 Compliance VPAT and Why Do we Need it?

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What is a 508 compliance VPAT?

A Section 508 VPAT is a self-disclosing voluntary product template (VPAT) produced by a vendor or manufacturer of an ICT product or service, which details each aspect of the revised Section 508 requirements and how the product or service supports each criterion.

Section 508 is a U.S. Web Accessibility For Saas law that requires all federal agencies and their partner organizations to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities.

By targeting the purchasing power of the federal government, Section 508 closed any avenues for the federal government to procure products and services that are less accessible to PWDs over those that are more accessible. It has sparked interest in addressing the longstanding Digital Accessibility For Saas Market Companies barriers in the ICT sector.

 What is 508 Compliance VPAT and Why Do we Need it?

Domains for Section 508 VPAT accessibility

The domains for Section 508 VPAT accessibility include the following:

  • Websites, web applications, desktop software, and mobile applications;
  • Printers, scanners, phones, and kiosks;
  • Software used but not purchased by the federal government;
  • Email, PDFs, MS Office documents, and support materials;
  • Posting to and the use of social media sites;
  • Survey questionnaires;
  • Templates or forms;
  • Education or training materials;
  • Intranet content designed as a web page;
  • Emergency notifications;
  • Decisions adjudicating an administrative claim or proceeding;
  • Formal acknowledgments of receipt;
  • Internal and external program or policy announcements; and
  • Notices of benefits, program eligibility, employment opportunities, or personnel actions.

What is VPAT accessibility?

"VPAT accessibility" refers to the inclusive practices and actions related to the use of a VPAT to identify and deal with the barriers that prevent people with disabilities from interacting with and accessing EIT products and services.

VPAT accessibility begins with understanding the market you intend to make your EIT products and services available to for purchase. This helps to identify the correct VPAT edition to use during the rest of the VPAT certification processes.

If, for example, you intend to convince federal agencies to procure your ICT products or services, then you’ll need to complete the Section ada 508 compliance compliance VPAT to perform the VPAT assessment and generate your accessibility conformance report (ACR).

Section 508 compliance certification for websites and web applications requires compliance with sixteen provisions in order for the website or application to be accessible to people with disabilities. The sixteen requirements' primary purpose is to enable accessibility for visually impaired individuals using assistive technology like screen readers by providing contextual text labels and descriptions for visuals, navigation, and other web page components.

Why we need the Section 508 compliance VPAT

There are a number of reasons why we need Section 508 compliance VPAT certification. They include the following:

  1. Compliance with the law

Section 508 compliance VPAT helps us comply with the revised Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act. The Act requires federal government agencies to make all technical and electronic information accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.

Section 508 VPAT also helps us to demonstrate that our business is concerned about web accessibility resources and endeavors to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which seeks to ensure that people with disabilities have access to the same rights and opportunities as those without disabilities.

  1. Doing business with U.S. federal organizations

Doing business with the federal organizations is only possible if a business has completed the Section 508 VPAT for the products or services it wishes to have the federal organizations procure. We therefore need the Section 508 VPAT to be able to engage in business dealings with federal organizations.

  1. Identifying the accessibility flaws in our products or services

The Section 508 VPAT helps us to introspect and establish any accessibility barriers associated with our ICT products or services before we offer them for public purchase. Identification of accessibility flaws happens during the VPAT assessment stage.

  1. Planning for tailor-made compliance services

During the Section 508 VPAT assessment stage, the accessibility barriers in an ICT product or service are established based on the Section 508 accessibility criteria and technical specifications. We can, therefore, seek the services of third-party agencies to specifically help us deal with the identified accessibility challenges.

The Section 508 VPAT, therefore, helps us to avoid the time wasted in diagnosing where accessibility challenges exist in a product or service, which also saves us the money we could have used to have a consultant first establish where the accessibility challenges are before embarking on fixing them.

Need help with Section 508 compliance?

Section 508 compliance involves engaging with complex accessibility terminology that requires someone with expert knowledge about the Section 508 accessibility domain. You can learn about filling out a Section 508 compliance VPAT by reviewing a Section 508 VPAT example completed by accessibility professionals.

If you require help with Section 508 ada site compliance VPAT, ADACP is always at hand to help. You can reach them by calling (626) 486-220. Their VPAT consultations are always free.


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