Don’t Miss These Tips On VPAT Passing Score


The Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC) designed a rubric and named it VPAT to help organizations declare their compliance with various digital accessibility standards. VPAT stands for Voluntary Product Accessibility Template. The template is used to generate an Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR) which helps agencies to find a compliant vendor having a VPAT passing score.


A VPAT certification is not a holy grail for accessibility compliance, it is a self-declaring document that brands use to demonstrate the degree of conformance. Generating a VPAT report doesn’t mean immunity against digital accessibility lawsuits. There is no passing score or eligibility grade, organizations used to self-evaluate their product to declare that it “supports” “does not support” or “partially supports” an accessibility guideline.


The VPAT scoring can be slightly overwhelming for those who don’t have enough domain knowledge. Moreover, it is very important to fill out the VPAT correctly because the VPAT section 508 compliance statement is used by agencies for federal level procurement with adhering to Section 508 Revised Standards. Here are some useful tips to master VPAT reporting.


  1. No Content In Tables: Never leave a cell empty in the VPAT. When your product is tested against various accessibility criteria, it is important to provide a detailed description of the requirements. An empty cell is a false or incomplete VPAT that might get you into trouble.
  2. Reporting With Pass/Fail: Never use such terminology in the VPAT. The success criteria for each accessibility framework are discussed using “supports” or “partially supports” remarks. In order to correctly use such remarks, you must ensure to conduct an accessibility audit of your products and offering prior to filling out the VPAT.
  3. Fully Supports: Revise the VPAT if all sections in the VPAT table say “supports”. It is highly unlikely that a product is entirely compliant with the accessibility criteria. You might be filling out an inaccurate VPAT so take the help of an expert.
  4. Unclear Description: Apart from mentioning that the feature supports or does not support, you must provide remarks about the accessibility criteria. If the description is unclear, you might not be able to win the procurement deals from your target customers.
  5. Older VPAT: If your VPAT declaration is older than 12 months, update it right away. Accessibility guidelines keep updating, additionally, you keep updating the products to survive the competition. Therefore, it is important to publish a recently reviewed VPAT. Filling out a VPAT is recommended every 12 to 14 months or right after a major product upgrade or revamp.
  6. Automate Scans Only: The VPAT needs to be filled out entirely and accurately. It means you need to be honest about the evaluation methods you used. When a VPAT only says automated testing, it is apparently clear that the majority of the accessibility barriers are missed. Automated scans are faster but these evaluation methods are not reliable. In fact, reports suggest that automated accessibility scans are only 30% accurate. You must go for the combined approach of automated testing as well as manual audits.


How To Find A Good VPAT Author?

VPAT can be downloaded from the official website of ITIC. However, when you try to fill out the VPAT in-house, make sure the VPAT authors have in-depth domain knowledge and do not make any of the above listed mistakes. In order to ensure compliance and an accurately filled out VPAT, find a third party accessibility specialist. An experienced VPAT author will help you in the following ways:


  1. Accessibility issues: An accessibility specialist with industry experience will have to save audit time and efficiently reference the known accessibility issues with the products.
  2. Accurate description: An experienced VPAT author will be able to correctly describe your product and its essential features to help attract potential buyers.
  3. Correct terminology: Ask for the VPAT example to confirm if the author uses “supports” and “does not supports” instead of vague remarks like “NA” or “Pass/fail”.
  4. Completed tables: There should be fewer “Not applicable” in the comment section of a table. It should be mentioned clearly which requirements are met and to what degree. Instead of mentioning “NA” the author must be able to provide a clear description of the inaccessibility of the essential functionality.


Why risk your business and increase the chances of legal repercussions by filling out the VPAT in-house? Simply get in touch with an accessibility specialist and attain confidence for all federal solicitations. Get a quote from ADACP, it is a renowned agency offering digital accessibility solutions to all sizes of businesses. Leveraging the industry experience of more than 12 years, ADACP has become a preferred choice for Section 508 VPAT certification. Click here to start the free accessibility test or to talk to the highly experienced VPAT authors at ADACP.


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