Your company has developed a great product which you plan to position for selling to the U.S. Federal Government. Your product is on the GSA schedule, and now you are ready to bid for government contracts, or expecting the purchase orders.
But have you thought about accessibility to people with disabilities? Do you know if your product is Section 508 compliant?
When you create your Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT), it is your chance to let procurement agents know in detail about the accessibility of your product, and show how you differ from your competition. Often times, when your competition offers similar functionality, Section 508 compliance itself can be the only deciding factor. In this article, I will show you how to put together a VPAT which effectively communicates the accessibility of your product. In addition, you can also view and download a blank VPAT that you can fill out yourself.
The following directory contains a list of companies which provide a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) of their products. The links point to the page of the company's web sites where the VPATs are posted. All VPATs open in a new window.
Please note that we are not responsible for the content of the VPATs and their accessibility, we only provide space for companies to list their products.
Even Grounds launched a new Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) directory. VPATs are used to determine the Section 508 compliance of a certain product. When VPATs are provided, they can help speeding up U.S. government procurement procedure.
While VPATs are available on the internet, presently they are only available within other services. Even Grounds hopes to help providing a quick way to access this collection.
One way to expose accessibility features of your product is to create a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) to detail how you comply with the federal Section 508 standards. This way, you save valuable research time for interested agencies, and get much closer to sell your product to companies and government agencies who require accessibility. While VPATs are currently used to describe Section 508 compliance, any accessibility standards and guidelines, such as WCAG can be applied in a similar format to the VPAT.
It is not widely known that a government procurement procedure includes checking for Section 508 compliance. Section 508 requires accessibility for people with disabilities when the Federal Government develops, procures, maintains and uses products. If a product does not comply with this legislation, in most circumstances it is automatically disqualified. If you were still able to sell products to the government which were not Section 508 compliant, most likely the procurement process was not properly administered.
Often times we hear the phrase "Section 508" in connection with accessibility or disabilities. In this article I would like to briefly explain what it is, who should pay attention to it, provide some information about compliance, and the Future of Section 508. At the end of the article you will find links if you are looking for further information.