The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) states:
“The Accessibility Conformance Report (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. Version 2 of the VPAT was expanded to include the leading ICT accessibility standards: Section 508 (U.S.), EN 301 549 (EU), and W3C/WAI WCAG.”
When a vendor offers a VPAT document, what they are technically providing is the ACR; the two terms are often used interchangeably.
VPAT stands for Voluntary Product Accessibility Template. It is the template for software, hardware and SAAS. The latest versions of the template come in several ‘flavours’:
In Australia we would want to see an ACR based ‘Rev EU’ or ‘Rev WCAG’. The ‘INT’ version would be acceptable but would be harder to interpret with the US Section 508 also being reported against.
ITI provides videos and slide decks as training for preparing an ACR that vendors could be directed to if they don’t have an ACR available.
A VPAT has the following sections which all should appear in the subsequent ACR:
An ACR is the Accessibility Conformance Report created for a digital product and based on the relevant VPAT.
The key initial parts of the ACR are the:
The terms used in the Conformance Level information are defined as follows:
The main part of the Report is the tabular information reporting against each criteria.
|Criteria||Conformance Level||Remarks and Explanations|
|If the ACR is reporting against WCAG, then there should be multiple tables for each WCAG level – A, AA and AAA.|
This section is really the key to the whole report. It is where description of why a product might not ‘support’ the criteria and thus an area to read closely.
Firstly, has the full VPAT been completed for the ACR? Did they follow instructions? If not, a VPAT is either new to them or is not something they take seriously!
It is preferable when vendors have had an independent third-party expert specializing in digital accessibility issue their ACR vs. creating their own ACR in-house.
Is the Product Description accurate? An inaccurate or unclear description of the product probably indicates the ACR author doesn’t know the product, hence an accessibility assessment is suspect.
Check the Evaluation Method Used for a mix of automated and manual evaluation as well as testing with common assistive technologies. It would be good to see usability testing also mentioned.
Ideally, every criteria will be “supported” in the Reporting Table, but in practice, very few products will fully support every single WCAG or other criteria, and this is ok. If a criteria is partially supported or not supported, this provides you with helpful areas to pay special attention to during product reviews. The main things to look out for are:
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