Skip to Main Content

Beyond the VPAT - importance of accessibility culture in vendor selection

taught by:

Session Summary

When information about accessibility is requested, often vendors submit their VPAT; but is that enough? An inclusive culture helps ensure a company considers accessibility of their products proactively. How do you know if a company has an inclusive culture in place? This presentation covers how you can find out and make an informed decision. 


The accessibility of web-based software products for students with disabilities has always been important in education and is even more important now due to the increase in online activities. One of the common documents to understand product accessibility is Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR), also known as the VPAT. However, it is only part of the picture and is often misunderstood or not accurately interpreted or validated.

Assurance that a digital product company has a strong inclusive culture and commitment to accessibility may be even more important. Such a commitment means that their teams are empowered to create accessible product experiences as part of everyday activities, as part of the typical product development life cycle.

In this presentation, we specifically discuss characteristics you can look for that indicate the company has a culture of accessibility in place. We will share some of the best practices we follow while creating ACRs and other documentation to highlight the inclusive culture. We will also provide some time to share and exchange ideas around other relevant questions that one should ask vendors to achieve the objective of procuring accessible products. 

Practical Skills

  • What are the limits of a VPAT and why should "trust but verify?"
  • Understand what kind of culture is essential for an organization to promote accessibility.
  • How to evaluate a vendor to ensure that they consider accessibility not just as a legal requirement but as an integrated requirment as they build products to support their user needs.