5. Procurement and Accessibility Policy

Activity: Critique Accessibility Claims

Though specific to the U.S., the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is a checklist that companies who supply the U.S. government can fill out to document the accessibility of their products. Because a VPAT is completed by the vendor, or a representative of the vendor, they have a tendency to present products in a better light than what may actually be the case. As a result, any time you are presented with a VPAT, or similar accessibility claim, it is important that a person knowledgeable in digital accessibility critically review the document.

Toolkit: Download the VPAT 2.1 form [DOC] and add it to your Toolkit.

Review the Canvas and Blackboard VPATs provided below and write up a critique of each. Note that these are the older VPAT forms, which are based on the requirements of the old Section 508.

  1. Canvas LMS VPAT
  2. Blackboard Learn VPAT [PDF]

Questions you may want to answer include, but are not limited to:

  • Is there missing information or additional information that could have been provided?
  • Is there overly complex language used that might confuse a reader with limited accessibility knowledge?
  • Are there statements that would cause you to question the validity of the remarks?
  • Are there any statements acknowledging known issues?
  • Are there explanations that do not appear relevant to the criteria?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you think the remarks address the given criteria?

Comparing the two VPATs, which would you be more likely to believe is accurate, and why do you think this?

Join the discussion for this activity by enrolling in the Digital Accessibility as a Business Practice MOOC.

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Digital Accessibility as a Business Practice by Digital Education Strategies, The Chang School is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.