The term VPAT stands for Voluntary Product Accessibility Template. VPAT describes the compliance level of any product according to section 508 of rehabilitation act. Since the product or service procured by the Federal government agencies should be accessible, the procuring agencies can request for a VPAT or find them online. The VPAT helps the procuring agencies to understand the accessibility features of the product before they initiate a discussion with the vender. On the other hand VPAT helps the venders to show case their commitment towards accessibility for those who are interested in procuring accessible products.
Since VPAT documents the features of EIT (Electronic Information Technology) products, it may refer to Software applications or operating system (1194.21), Web-based Internet Information and Applications (1194.22), Telecommunications Products (1194.23), Video and Multi-media Products (1194.24), Self-Contained, Closed Products (1194.25), Desktop and Portable Computers (1194.26), Functional Performance Criteria (1194.31) and Information, Documentation and Support (1194.41) of Section 508.
What does VPAT contain
The VPAT contains three sections.
The general section describes the name of the product, date on which the VPAT is published and the contact information of the team or individual to be contacted for additional information.
The summary table having 3 columns describes 8 sub-sections of Section 508. Mentioned above in the first column. The second column talks about the supporting features and the third one on additional remarks. The first column criteria remain unchanged while the second columns have to be edited depending on the product on which the VPAT is published.
The third section is the detailed table that talks about each criterion against the section from the summary table. Eg, if the product is a website vender has to fill in the table that talk about Web-based Internet Information and Applications (1194.22 of Sec 508). The detailed table also contains three columns. First column is about the criteria which talks about each check point of the act. The second column talks about the supporting features. Fill this column with statuses such as â€œSupports, supports with exceptions, supports through equivalent facilitation, does not support and Not applicable. The third column talks about the remarks. For the statuses shared in column 2 sometimes additional information may be required which will be documented in this column.