The Ins And Outs Of A VPAT Certification

14 October 2020
 Categories: Business, Blog


Creating digital products can be lucrative, especially if you are able to market your products to government agencies. Strict requirements are in place when it comes to the compliance of digital products used by government agencies in their day-to-day activities. If you are hoping to secure a government contract in the future, you will need to ensure that your digital product has a VPAT certification.

What is a VPAT certification?

A VPAT, or a voluntary product accessibility template, is a document that defines your digital product's compliance with regulatory standards. Any company that receives government funding for research and development, or who partners with a government agency to provide digital access to a product must have a VPAT certification on file. The VPAT certification is intended to provide legal protection for both the government agency using a digital product and the company providing the digital product.

Is Total Product Compliance Required?

Many companies do not vie for government contracts because they assume total product compliance is required before a VPAT certification can be issued. This is not the case. In fact, it would be nearly impossible to create a product that complies with each requirement listed under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. A VPAT is designed simply to outline in detail the product's level of compliance. The government is required to weigh accessibility among all competitors when procuring new digital products, and a VPAT will assist in this process. 

How is a VPAT Certification Acquired?

A VPAT certification is created on an individual basis. The VPAT is simply a template that companies can use to outline their product's accessibility compliance. You have the option of creating a VPAT in-house or having a third-party prepare the VPAT on your behalf. It's beneficial to partner with a professional if you don't have experience generating successful VPAT documents in-house. The information that is contained within the VPAT certification is critical in the overall assessment of your product's suitability for use by a government agency.

If you haven't provided enough detail or made your product's compliance level clear in the VPAT, you may be passed over for a lucrative government contract. The information that you include in a VPAT can also lead to legal trouble if it misleads the government in any way. A third-party preparer will have ample experience in generating accurate and comprehensive VPAT certificates, and you can take advantage of this experience to improve your VPAT certification documents.

For more information about VPAT certification, contact a local professional.