Are VPATs for websites?
My interpretation is that VPATs are traditionally not for websites.
However, depending on the scope of the product or service, VPATs may include websites.
So let’s go over this from the two primary sources: we have the Information Technology Industry Council who are actually the creators of the VPAT and on their website it says, “The accessibility conformance report (which is basically the completed VPAT, the VPAT is the template the conformance report is the template when it’s filled out) so it says, the ACR based on the ITI VPAT is the leading global reporting format for assisting buyers and sellers in identifying information and communications technology ICT products and services with accessibility features.”
Section508.gov says a voluntary product accessibility template (VPAT) is a document that explains how information and technology and communication technology (ICT) products such as software, hardware, electronic content, and support documentation meet conform to the revised 508 standards for IT accessibility.
So the keywords to me are “products and services” and that’s really what a VPAT is for.
Think of a VPAT as for a for software or for a it could be like an online platform or it could be hardware like a computer.
You could have a VPAT for computer, you could VPAT for a web application like Gmail – that could have a VPAT but VPATs are not traditionally for websites, that’s not what VPATs are traditionally created for.
But on a page on section508.gov page entitled, “Inventory Your ICT”, it reads, “Determining how revised 508 standards apply to federal IT procurement and development will ensure how any technology your agency buys or builds will be accessible the first step in this process is to conduct an inventory the other steps involve determining which exceptions and standards apply so it then says first review the business requirements of your project or acquisition to identify which major components contain information and communication technology (ICT).”
“ICT items include such things as software, hardware, electronic content, support documentation, and services.”
Now key in on electronic content because an example provided directly under that paragraph is websites and web-based content and including Internet and intranet.
So I think this was what this is getting at is if a website is a part of the product or service, it gets rolled in to this ICT and it becomes a product or service.
But traditionally we don’t look at websites as for VPATs because there you would be looking at if you wanted an accounting of the accessibility not stating that it’s accessible but you would look to an audit which an audit is more is not is not standardized like the VOAT is but an audit will give you an accounting of the accessibility of that website.
And if you want the website to be fully conformant you would look to a conformance statement which would be issued at the time that you have a set amount of pages or indoor screens that are fully conformant with a given version and conformance level of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
With VPATs, remember the VPATs not stating that your product or service is accessible it’s merely stating it’s merely accounting for its accessibility and letting the procurement agents know what the state of accessibility is and what features or what what standards maybe met what success criteria may be met that’s what that’s what a big pat is going to account for and address and and that’s really it.
So back to answer the question, is a VPAT for websites?
Usually not, unless the website is going to be a part of the procurement in a a product or service so maybe using a using a product relies heavily upon a website or a service then that website or service you might need a a VPAT that includes the website as a product as a part of that product or service.
So I know that’s not entirely clear but neither are the neither is the documentation but that’s my interpretation.