Our Accessibility Specialist team has received some questions from our clients lately asking about the difference between a VPAT® and an ACR, as well as the difference between an accessibility statement and an accessibility policy. I’ll discuss the differences between these terms in this post.
VPAT® (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template)
A VPAT® is a specific format/template (registered trademark) for reporting on a product’s accessibility. It is available in WCAG, Section 508, EU (EN 301 549) & INT (combination of all 3) versions. The 508, EU and INT version all map everything to WCAG success criteria. A VPAT® can be completed for websites, web apps, mobile websites, mobile applications, and other devices that connect to the internet (e.g. TVs, wearables [smartwatches], vehicle infotainment systems, airport check-in kiosks, etc).
ACR (Accessibility Conformance Report)
An ACR is a report that documents a product’s accessibility. Most of the time it is in the format of a completed VPAT®. However, a VPAT® is not technically required to create an ACR but it is the industry standard to do so.
An accessibility statement is a statement made publicly about a product’s current level of accessibility and goals for the future. It showcases the organization’s commitment to accessibility, current status or goals for WCAG conformance, and can note any 3rd party tools that do not meet conformance requirements. Accessible Web customers publish their statements via the A11y Center; non-customers typically do this via a page on their website.
An accessibility policy is an internal, organizational policy detailing how accessibility is or will be integrated into their operations and processes. It usually outlines timelines the organization has set related to improving the accessibility of their product/s, who is responsible for what, how accessibility is managed from design to deployment, etc. Most of the time an accessibility policy is not made publicly available.
- ITI’s VPAT Information & Templates
- W3C Developing an Accessibility Statement
- W3C Developing Accessibility Policies
Can Accessible Web Help?
Accessible Web offers a variety of web accessibility services to help our customers meet ADA & AODA compliance. If you are in need of an ACR or a VPAT®, your first step is to have a full WCAG audit completed so you know where you currently stand. If you manage multiple websites, consider our accessibility for agencies partnership program. Have specific questions? Get in touch!