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VPAT--VWhat?

taught by: JoAnne Juett

co-presented by: Kyle Perkinson

Session Summary:

Requests and policy requirements for VPATs (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) are increasing. In today’s competitive ICT environment, VPATs provide essential information for ensuring user satisfaction, increasing product distribution, and for legal protection. This session will address who needs a VPAT and why, will help ICT buyers and vendors improve their understanding, interpretation, and implementation of VPATs, will provide tips for vendors on how to request and walk through the development of a VPAT, and will provide resources for future reference. Attendees are invited to share their current VPAT experiences and questions in this session.

Description:

Requests and requirements for VPATs (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) have been steadily increasing over the past few years. In today’s competitive ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) environment, VPATs provide essential information for ensuring user satisfaction, increasing product distribution, and for legal protection. A VPAT is not necessarily a one-size-fits-all document. Instead, VPATs serve various purposes depending upon the needs of the user. This session will address who needs a VPAT and why, will help ICT buyers and vendors improve their understanding, interpretation, and implementation of VPATs, will provide tips for vendors on how to request and walk through the development of a VPAT, and will provide resources for future reference. We also invite attendees to bring VPATs they are currently working with, and we will address their questions and concerns.

The session will first focus on defining and describing the VPAT 2.0. We will walk attendees through a VPAT template in order to illustrate the basics about VPAT completion and interpretation. In particular, we will consider why specific items are or are not included. On the procurement side, we will discuss why and how to obtain a VPAT, including how to include VPAT requirements in the procurement process. For ICT vendors, we will also share success techniques for a complete VPAT audit (to include scoping of a digital product).

After a solid foundation has been set for understanding what a VPAT is, who would use it and why, the session will move to a participatory section. First, the attendees will be given a completed VPAT template and basic audit results. The attendees will be divided into groups. Using the handouts, they will answer, as a group, questions such as: What information should be included? Would you purchase this product–what is your rationale? How can I respond to a potential procurement person/team? What additional information do I need from a vendor? We will then compare and discuss group responses. Second, we will invite attendees to share their real-life VPAT experiences, and we will address any questions and issues they raise.

The session will close with a “what’s next” discussion. We will address the need to first verify the VPAT information. We will discuss ways in which users can leverage VPATs to help vendors improve product accessibility. We will explore ways to ensure VPAT issues are adequately addressed when branding for your organization. We will also provide resources for more information about VPATs and organizations that can assist attendees with request and questions.

Practical Skills:

I’m told I need a VPAT– what’s that and where do I start? Whether you are purchasing ICT or producing it, this session will introduce you to VPATs, why you need one, and how to obtain, interpret, and implement one. We will use real-life examples and provide you with helpful resources. And, please bring your own VPAT experiences to the session to share!