Accessibility Statements and VPATs

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Table of Contents

Understanding Accessibility Statements
Understanding Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs)
Getting Help with Accessibility Statements and VPATs

Understanding Accessibility Statements

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative page on accessibility statements is a helpful resource providing instructions for writing an accessibility statement, but in doing so, is also helpful for understanding them.  

What is an Accessibility Statement?

Companies or institutions that provide content or educational products publish accessibility statements to establish:     

  • Their commitment to accessibility
  • The accessibility standards they aim to meet (such as WCAG 2.1)
  • Where users can go to get accessibility help with their product
  • What accessibility limitations there are for their product
  • Measures they are taking to keep up with accessibility
  • Technical issues, such as supported systems and browsers

Why Should I Include Accessibility Statements for Products in My Course?

Including a link to the accessibility statement for any third-party resource that your students are required to use communicates to your students that you have checked to make sure that the product is accessible.  It also provides students with the information they need to get assistance with the product.

How Can I Find a Product’s Accessibility Statement?

The most direct method for finding an accessibility statement is to go to that company’s website and search for “Accessibility Statement.”  However, sometimes a company’s internal search engine is not as effective as just doing a Google search with that company or product’s name and the term “Accessibility Statement.”  Generally, you’ll find it fairly quickly.

We also have collected many accessibility statements, VPATs, and privacy statements for common technologies at KSU for you.  Click the button below to find direct links to these privacy statements.

Accessibility Statements, VPATs, and Privacy Statements for Common Technologies

Can I See Some Examples of Accessibility Statements?

Understanding Voluntary Product Assembly Templates (VPATs)

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) defines a VPAT as “a document that explains how information and communication technology products…meet (conform to) the Revised 508 standards for IT accessibility.”  Whereas an accessibility statement is generally a broader philosophical statement about the commitment to accessibility and where users can get help with accessibility with their product, a VPAT is a more technical document reporting how a product conforms to all accessibility standards, and is formatted according to a specific template.  

American VPATs may be based on the Section 508 standards, the WCAG 2.1 standards, or both and typically begin with a broad report for whether or how well the product meets the standards.  For instance, a VPAT for a product based on WCAG 2.1 standards will include a table identifying which levels (A, AA, AAA) the product meets.  After that, the VPAT will list each 508 or WCAG standard and explain how the product meets that standard.

How Should I Use a VPAT?

The truth is, the first time you read a VPAT, you may find it difficult to understand.  It’s not a particularly helpful document for your students.  The value in reading a VPAT is that it can tell you whether there are elements of the product (a type of quiz question or activity) that are incompatible with specific assistive technologies.  

How Can I Find a Product’s VPAT?

Just like the accessibility statement, the most direct method for finding a VPAT is to go to that company’s website and search for “VPAT.”  However, sometimes a company’s internal search engine is not as effective as just doing a Google search with that company or product’s name and the term “VPAT.”  Generally, you’ll find it fairly quickly.  Infrequently, you may be required to request a VPAT from a company, such as at Pearson.

It’s important to note that a VPAT will likely be associated with a specific product, while an accessibility statement may be more broadly associated with the company.

We also have collected many accessibility statements, VPATs, and privacy statements for common technologies at KSU for you.  Click the button below to find direct links to these VPATs.

Accessibility Statements, VPATs, and Privacy Statements for Common Technologies

Can I See Some Examples of VPATs?

How Can I Get Help Reading a VPAT?

If you’d like to ask some questions about finding or reading an accessibility statement or VPAT, contact Academic Web Accessibility or the instructional designers in DLI.

 

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