Section 508 and VPAT: What they are and what you need to know.

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SECTION 508 of the Rehabilitation Act

Section 508, is a law introduced in 1998 as an amendment to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It establishes the accessibility rules that federal agencies must comply with when procuring, using, and maintaining all forms of information and communication technology. It does not apply to the private sector, and contrary to popular belief, it does not apply to recipients of government funds4.

Section 508 was passed to remove barriers in information and communications technologies (ICT). The intent was to make available new opportunities for those with disabilities while encouraging the development of ICT that meets these goals. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are technical guidelines for testing websites, applications, and PDF documents which are also used for Section 508 compliance.

If you aren’t a federal agency, you most likely are not bound by it. If you are unclear about whether you’re legally required to comply with Section 508, you can use this tool or contact ADA WebGuard today for a free consultation at (833) 232-9321.

The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT™)

The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT™) is an evaluation form that is used to verify the accessibility of an information and communication technology (ITC) product. This includes computer software, websites, emails, and electronic documents. The VPAT™ uses Section 508 and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) to evaluate the product.

ICT products used by the Federal agencies will require specific accessibility requirements. To validate these requirements and the level of accessibility, a VPAT™ should be provided.

The VPAT™ should be completed by an accessibility expert that has the experience and certifications to ensure your product is correctly and thoroughly evaluated.

ADA WebGuard® has a team of certified experts, including the Department of Homeland Security Trusted Tester, that can assist you with completing your VPAT™ and achieving an accessible product.

Call us today for a free consultation at (833) 232-9321.