Technology can be a great enabler. It can help people to overcome limitations from disability or age so they can remain engaged in the broader society – from being productive at home and in school to competing in the workplace for employment opportunities and promotions.
ITI is the leading industry voice for information and communications technologies’ (ICT) accessibility policy and standards. We work closely with the U.S. and other governments, consumers, and other industry sectors to promote innovations in ICT accessibility that benefit stakeholders in every aspect of their lives.
In addition, ITI houses the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template®, or VPAT®, a tool used to document a product's conformance with accessibility standards. The VPAT assists federal contracting officials and other buyers in making preliminary assessments regarding the availability of commercial “Electronic and Information Technology” products and services with features that support accessibility.
Engagement in the U.S.: ITI has partnered with General Services Administration and the Access Board to develop and promote various tools and information resources that enhance the ability of public procurement to identify ICT products that meet the accessibility needs of employees and citizens.
Engagement Globally: ITI also actively supports global harmonization on ICT accessibility standards and policies, to help increase the availability of products and services at a reasonable cost to businesses and consumers.
Voluntary Product Accessibility Template® (VPAT®)
The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template®, or VPAT®, is a tool used to document a product's conformance with the accessibility standards under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The purpose of the VPAT is to assist Federal contracting officials and other buyers in making preliminary assessments regarding the availability of commercial "Electronic and Information Technology" products and services with features that support accessibility.
It is assumed and recommended that offerers will provide additional contact information to facilitate more detailed inquiries.
To download a Word Version of the VPAT Click Here.
The first table of the Template provides a summary view of the section 508 Standards. The subsequent tables provide more detailed views of each subsection. There are three columns in each table. Column one of the Summary Table describes the subsections of subparts B and C of the Standards. The second column describes the supporting features of the product or refers you to the corresponding detailed table, "e.g., equivalent facilitation." The third column contains any additional remarks and explanations regarding the product. In the subsequent tables, the first column contains the lettered paragraphs of the subsections. The second column describes the supporting features of the product with regard to that paragraph. The third column contains any additional remarks and explanations regarding the product.
ICT Accessibility and Conformance
While a VPAT can be an essential tool in assessing the availability of ICT products with accessibility features, even in cases where a product conforms to relevant standards and technical specifications, an end user may still encounter challenges utilizing it due to the nature or severity of his or her disability. On the other hand, a product that may not fully conform to particular requirements may still be perfectly accessible to an end user who has a disability but does not need a particular accessibility feature, e.g., a large-button telephone handset for an individual with a hearing disability.
Truly, there is no perfectly accessible product, but that does not mean that there are no products that could be used effectively and efficiently by most people with disabilities. ITI has developed a paper offering recommendations on how ICT purchasers can utilize VPATs to sort through such matters. We welcome questions or comments on this or any other matter related to ICT accessibility. Please contact the web master for further information.