The purpose of the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template, or VPAT™, is to assist buyers in making preliminary assessments regarding the availability of commercial “Electronic and Information Technology” products and services with features that support accessibility. It is recommended that offerers will provide additional contact information to facilitate more detailed inquiries.
A sample VPAT document can be downloaded here. This sample uses Section 508 guidelines. WCAG or relevant ISO accessibility standards and criteria should be used as appropriate, depending on the nature of the project and procurement exercise.
Questions vendors must address
While many vendors have accessibility documentation, it can also help to ask for more information. Vendor responses to the following questions can help reveal the depth and breadth of a vendor’s commitment to inclusive design and accessibility.
- Can users perform all functions without a mouse?
- Has the tool, product, or site been tested using assistive technologies?
- If so, which assistive technology tools? What methods were used? What were the findings? Who did the testing?
- If the product supports audio, does it support captions?
- If the product produces output, is the output accessible?
- What other accessibility documentation is available?
- What are common accessibility-related issues with the products?