For companies that do not have the resources or expertise to conduct an accessibility assessment and create a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT), working with an outside vendor partner can be a viable option. An outside vendor partner can provide expertise and resources to conduct an accessibility assessment and create a comprehensive and accurate VPAT.
Choosing the right vendor partner to create your VPAT is critical to the success and reputation of your product or service. A VPAT serves as a tool to demonstrate your commitment to accessibility and provide a comprehensive report on the accessibility of your product or service to potential purchasers.
An experienced and knowledgeable vendor partner can create a VPAT that is accurate, comprehensive, and meets the accessibility requirements of the purchaser, increasing the chances that your product or service is selected. On the other hand, an incorrect or inaccurate VPAT can result in legal liability, reputational damage, and loss of sales.
A purchaser who is familiar with accessibility regulations and requirements can use the VPAT to assess the accessibility of your product or service, and a VPAT with errors or inaccuracies can reflect poorly on your product and result in the purchaser not choosing it.
When selecting a vendor partner, it’s important to consider the following factors:
- Expertise in accessibility and VPATs: The vendor partner should have experience and expertise in performing accessibility audits and creating VPATs, and understand the accessibility requirements specified in Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0/2.1.
- Reputation: Choose a vendor partner with a good industry reputation and is well-respected for its accessibility expertise. References count!
- Methodology: The vendor partner should have a proven methodology for conducting accessibility assessments and creating VPATs and be transparent about their process.
- Communication and responsiveness: Choose a vendor partner that is responsive to your needs and concerns and has good communication skills. The vendor partner should be available to answer questions and provide updates throughout the VPAT creation process.
- Technical expertise: The vendor partner should have technical expertise in accessibility and be able to use assistive technology and other tools to conduct a comprehensive manual accessibility assessment. Additionally, it is beneficial if the vendor partner has expertise in technology development.
- Pricing: Consider the cost of working with the vendor partner, but don’t make cost the only factor in your decision. The vendor partner should provide a competitive price while also delivering high-quality work.
- Timelines: The vendor partner should provide a realistic timeline for completing the VPAT and should be able to deliver the VPAT within the agreed-upon timeframe.
When creating a VPAT for your product, selecting the right vendor partner is critical. You want a vendor partner with a wealth of experience in accessibility and a deep understanding of the VPAT process. A vendor partner with a strong reputation in the industry, a proven methodology, and excellent communication skills will be able to provide you with the comprehensive and accurate VPAT you need.
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