Working with vendors and VPATs
When purchasing web or other IT products, departments at ASU should ensure that they are accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. A Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is a document that demonstrates a product's compliance with legal standards for accessibility. (Also see: ASU IT Accessibility Guidelines: Procuring IT Products.)
Before purchasing any IT products, departments should follow these steps:
Request a completed VPAT from the vendor.
- For web-based products, the accepted VPAT is the current WCAG Edition (VPAT 2.4Rev WCAG (February 2020)), available from the Information Technology Industry Council
- For other IT products (or to satisfy Federal government requirements), the accepted VPAT is the current Revised Section 508 Edition (VPAT 2.4Rev 508 (February 2020)), available from the Information Technology Industry Council
Ask your sales representative for the VPAT, or call the vendor using the contact information on their website. You can also try searching the web for the terms "508" or "VPAT" and the product name as many manufacturers publish their VPATs on their websites. If the vendor is unable or unwilling to supply a VPAT or comparable accessibility statement, look for another product that is accessible and meets your needs.
Scan the VPAT (which is in table form). If you see a “Partially Supports” or “Does Not Support” in the Conformance Level column, the product is not fully accessible.
If the VPAT indicates that a product is not accessible, ask the vendor for a remediation roadmap, including timelines and interim workarounds to allow access by individuals with disabilities. If the vendor is unable or unwilling to supply documentation, look for another product that is accessible and meets your needs.
Because VPATs are self-reported claims completed by the vendors, they should be verified whenever practical.
- Conduct an internal accessibility evaluation of the product, using methods such as:
- Check the product with just a keyboard (no mouse). Can you access all features and operate all controls?
- If the product is web-based, check its pages with the ASU Web Accessibility Audit tool or with a browser accessibility checker such as WAVE or Siteimprove.
- Test the product with assistive technologies, such as a screen reader. If possible, involve actual users with disabilities in product testing.
- Consult an independent third party to evaluate the product or service for accessibility
If internal testing indicates that a product is not accessible, obtain a remediation roadmap from the vendor, including timelines and interim workarounds to allow access by individuals with disabilities. If the vendor is unable or unwilling to comply, look for another product that is accessible and meets your needs.
If the product has no VPAT or if the review or verification indicates the product is not accessible, it is best to look elsewhere for another product that is accessible. When no other accessible product exists that meets your needs, contact your dean, department head, or distributed technology (DT) lead to alert them to the situation and to the potential need (a) to work with the supplier to remediate accessibility issues and (b) to find an accessible, equivalent alternative. It is the department's responsibility to ensure that vendors follow through on commitments involving accessibility and to supply alternative accommodations when necessary.