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What is New in the VPAT 2.4 Template?

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Don’t ignore this article!  You’ll meet the VPAT 2.4 template ahead!

You may believe that information regarding the voluntary product accessibility template (VPAT) is irrelevant to you because you are not in the technology sector. You could be correct, but not entirely. I had similar views until I realized I lacked confidence in comparison to my peers in terms of staying on top of my job.


I became frustrated while waiting for Windows to boot up and had to continue reading printed newspapers. My peers were always one step ahead of me. They had tailored email subscription lists, numerous newspapers on their display devices, and rarely used real diaries!


I concluded that the younger generation's better comfort with electronic information technology (EIT) was owing to their constant, split-second immersion in cutting-edge digital innovations. This enabled them to be more successful in reviewing digital products and services and selecting the best to keep them ahead of the competition.


As a learner, you need to know how VPAT compliance helps

“I can self-curate my education by increasing access to content offered by the top educators, as well as remotely experience holidays through high-resolution videos on massive high-definition screens,” quipped one of the youngsters as I marveled at his ability to stay up with innovations targeted at enhancing the lives of elderly people with disabilities, such as the capacity to physically monitor their well-being using Internet of Things (IoT) sensors based on motion or voice-controlled calls!


“VPAT accessibility rocks!” he exclaimed to me as he zoomed away from my presence one day. This prompted me to begin studying VPAT accessibility! That is when I determined to keep up with technology advances, and as a learner, understanding how VPAT compliance affects your life is critical.


What is VPAT accessibility?

VPAT accessibility is simply the practice of applying the right version of the VPAT to make EIT products and services understandable, relevant, and useable for the greatest number of people, including people with disabilities.


The VPAT web content accessibility guidelines (WCAG), VPAT Section 508, VPAT European Union (EU), and VPAT International (INT) are the four VPAT versions that underlie VPAT compliance. The VPAT WCAG version supports the creation of VPAT reports that adhere to the WCAG standard. Section 508 VPAT assists in the preparation of ACRs, which are supported by the Revised Section 508 of the United States Rehabilitation Act accessibility criteria.


The VPAT INT supports the creation of ACRs for the worldwide market, whereas the VPAT EU guides the development of ACRs for the European market.


What is VPAT compliance?

VPAT compliance is the precise documentation, using the relevant version of the VPAT that supports businesses and organizations in measuring and demonstrating the conformance of their EIT products or services to the set accessibility criteria.


Its primary goal is to ensure that EIT goods and services comply with established accessibility requirements such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Revised Section 508, WCAG, and the EU's EN 301 549.


If you develop or sell physical devices or hardware, such as copiers, cellphones, tablets, and telephone systems, or if you provide services that require access to EIT products, you should learn about the VPAT 2.4 template.


If you work with digital documents, apps and software programs used by public-facing mechanisms and agencies, software and apps designed for use by federal government employees, agencies, and federally-funded organizations, public-facing websites or websites used by employees of the federal government and its agencies, or interactive voice response programs, you should also be familiar with the VPAT 2.4 template.


What is the VPAT 2.4 template and what is new in it?

The VPAT 2022 ACRs are based on the VPAT 2.4 template, which is the most recent version of the VPAT. In February 2020, VPAT 2.4 was launched, and it included the EN 301 549 EU Accessibility Standard.


The VPAT 2.4 template, like the original VPAT, has a column for recording conformity to each provision of the standard or guideline that applies to an EIT product or service. It asks EIT product or service producers or vendors to declare the level of accessibility conformance of their products or services by simply choosing one of four available options: “supports,” “partially supports,” “does not support,” or “not applicable.”


The conformance level “partially supports” substituted the previous VPAT edition's conformance level “supports with exceptions.” This substitution was made at the request of representatives from the US Access Board. The VPAT 2.4 template additionally includes a column for further clarifying each reported conformance level.


In addition, unlike the previous VPAT version, the VPAT 2.4 template does not include a date. The date was removed from the document to avoid any confusion with the VPAT report date. With this new feature, the date is now included in the file name, while the version information is included in the document itself.


VPAT 2.4 also includes version-specific instructions, which is a new feature. It also includes a new table heading and revisions in the EN 301-549 edition. The VPAT EU and INT versions' links and tables have also been updated to suit the amended EN 301 549 standard.


Ideally, the most significant new additions in VPAT 2.4 are related with the EN 301 549 standard from the European Union. Other alterations were done, but they are minor. So, if your EIT product or service seeks to target the EU and/or international markets, ensure you update your VPAT ACRs using the VPAT 2.4 template.


Need help with updating your VPAT ACR using the VPAT 2.4 template?

You can learn how to update your VPAT ACR to the VPAT 2.4 template criteria by reviewing a professionally filled VPAT 2.4 example, or you can call ADA Compliance Pros at (626) 486-220 for expert assistance.


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