VPATs (Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates) Explained

A VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template), is a standard format for vendors to report the accessibility of their products. VPATs are an important aspect to help ensure accessibility for hardware and software. VPATs provide a method to review an application or software for accessibility features.

VPAT Requirements

Prior to purchase, ECU requires a VPAT or affirmation from the vendor that demonstrates accessibility. When reviewing multiple products, asking for a VPAT early may help you determine which vendors are more likely to be accessible.

Exceptions and Exemptions

Some technology products are EXEMPT from the 508 Requirements for Accessibility. Note that, while some of these products can be replaced directly with assistive technologies, the products themselves are excluded from 508 requirements. Please see the Accessibility Exemptions list to learn more.
If a technology product being purchased by your department falls under one of the five exception categories, you can request an EXCEPTION. However, each exception does require an Accessibility Alternative Plan of Action (except for the Back Office exception). Visit the accessibility exceptions page for more information.

Working with Vendors

Request a VPAT from vendors and manufacturers of Electronic and Information Technology (EIT) products. If the vendor does not have a VPAT or affirmation that demonstrates accessibility, request a Software Accessibility Review.

What if the VPAT documents an inaccessible product?

A VPAT gives you a baseline to determine whether the vendor has built an accessible product. Having accessibility documentation allows for examination of the vendor's efforts to make a product compliant. If the VPAT indicates symptoms of inaccessibility, request a Software Accessibility Review.

A VPAT includes eight sections.Each section is designed to ensure that products are usable by individuals with disabilities, regardless of the ability to see, hear or use a mouse and keyboard.

  1. Software Applications and operating systems
  2. Web-based internet information and application
  3. Telecommunication products
  4. Video and multimedia products
  5. Self-contained, closed products
  6. Desktop and Portable Computers
  7. Functional Performance Criteria
  8. Information, Documentation, and Support

For more information on VPAT’s, visit https://www.section508.gov/content/sell/vpat.