Equipo de trabajo, recolectando la información a documentar en la Plantilla Voluntaria de Accesibilidad de Productos (VPAT®).

What is VPAT®? The voluntary declaration of accessibility for the private sector.

The VPAT® (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template), also known as the Voluntary Accessibility Statement, is a template whose main function is to provide a detailed assessment of how a product complies with established accessibility standards and guidelines.

In general, manufacturers and suppliers use it to document and demonstrate that their software, hardware or other ICT products meet certain accessibility requirements.

In addressing web accessibility, this statement documents in detail the level of compliance against the criteria of the WCAG, and also has a version of EN 301 549.VPAT is widely accepted internationally, and is ideal for private companies who wish to state the  accessibility levels  of their digital channels. 

European companies can opt for the VPAT model that follows the European declaration model, reflecting the requirements of the European technical standard EN 301 549.

Such a statement allows accessibility ratings to be assessed by generating a report known as an Accessibility Compliance Report (ACR), which is aligned with regulations set by various jurisdictions around the world. 

In this way, this assessment helps organisations and individuals to make informed decisions about the accessibility of ICT products, ensuring that more and more inclusive and accessible options are available on the web.

Why is it advisable to use VPAT®?

The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT®) promotes the ability to access and use technology in an equitable manner, which is fundamental to ensuring digital inclusion for all people regardless of their abilities or disabilities.

Recall that in the European Union alone, more than 87 million people live with disabilities, highlighting the need for technology and digital products to be highly accessible to all.

In this context, the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT®) plays a crucial role in providing essential information to users and potential buyers of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) products, thus promoting transparency and accessibility.

This is how VPAT® has become an internationally recognised solution for the private sector, standing out as a voluntary accessibility declaration option for their digital channels.

This aligns naturally with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and offers companies an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to accessibility and inclusion through this statement.

How many versions of VPAT® currently exist?

VPAT® has evolved to encompass different accessibility standards, including US Section 508, European EN 301 549 and WCAG standards, which are required by international regulations.

For this reason, the voluntary declaration has several editions, including: the WCAG Edition, the 508 Edition, the EU Edition and the INT Edition; each intended to inform compliance with specific standards as we see below:

Thus, the adoption of VPAT® by companies may also be motivated by the need to comply with specific regulations.

Differences between the VPAT® and the ACR

While the ACR is a template that guides the assessment of a product’s accessibility, the VPAT® is the finalised report based on the ACR . Often these terms are used interchangeably, which can lead to confusion. A VPAT® basically includes a description of the product, assessment methods used, additional notes and a standard format in Microsoft Word for ease of use and distribution.

Make your voluntary accessibility declaration with inSuit

inSuit is committed to helping all companies interested in submitting a voluntary accessibility statement, either by using a pre-existing VPAT® template or by developing a customised one.

It is worth noting that preparing the VPAT® with inSuit offers a number of advantages, such as the fact that the assessment is carried out by a team of web accessibility experts with more than 10 years of experience and more than 800 audits performed, which translates into objectivity and accuracy in the preparation of the declaration, thus giving greater credibility to its execution. So now you know! We are available to support your company on the road to digital accessibility and inclusion.