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Challenges with VPATs


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Evaluating a product for accessibility can be challenging. How do you know a product is really accessible? What can you do to verify the information in a VPAT?

VPAT stands for Voluntary Product Accessibility Template. Organizations request VPATs for products to determine if it is accessible but how do you know if that information is correct and if the product is really accessible. In this session you will learn what a VPAT is and what you can do to evaluate a product to see if it meets the Section 508 standards and WCAG 2.0 guidelines.

Published in: Technology, Design

Challenges with VPATs

  1. 1. Is the product accessible? CHALLENGES WITH VPATS November 6, 2013 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 1
  2. 2. The Accessibility Experts Kathleen Wahlbin Email: Phone: 978-443-0798 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 2
  3. 3. VPATS How do I know if the VPAT is accurate? If the VPAT says supports, does that mean it will work with assistive technology? What do we need to comply with? Are there exceptions? What is a VPAT? What about 3rd Party Applications? 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 3
  4. 4. What is VPAT? WHAT IS VPAT? 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 4
  5. 5. What is VPAT? What is it’s Purpose? • Stands for Voluntary Product Accessibility Template • A tool to document a product's conformance with Section 508 • Assists procurement departments and government agencies in making initial assessments of the level of accessibility 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 5
  6. 6. Section 508 Software Web Telecommunications Video & multimedia Self-contained, closed products Computers Documentation / Support services 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 6
  7. 7. Format of VPAT • List of the Section 508 standards with summary – Summary table provides an overall level of conformance to Section 508 – Series of Section 1194 tables list the detailed requirements and the level of conformance to each provision 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 7
  8. 8. Summary Table Guideline Applicable Compliance Section 1194.21 Software Applications and Operating Applicable Systems Supports through Equivalent Facilitation Section 1194.22 Web-based internet information and Applicable Supports applications Section 1194.23 Telecommunications Products Not Applicable - Section 1194.24 Video and Multi-media Products Not Applicable - Section 1194.25 Self-Contained, Closed Products Not Applicable - Section 1194.26 Desktop and Portable Computers Not Applicable - Section 1194.31 Functional Performance Criteria Applicable Section 1194.41 Information, documentation, and Not Applicable - Supports with exceptions support. 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 8
  9. 9. Summary Table • Table of each of the sections • Section is compliant if all the provisions meet the requirements – Supports – Supports through equivalent facilitation – Supports when combined with compatible AT • Section is partially met if any of the requirements are “supports with exceptions” • Section does not meet the requirements if any provisions has “does not support” 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 9
  10. 10. Detail Requirements • Each table has three columns as follows: Column Name Purpose Criteria: Describes a specific provision Supporting Features: Provides a summary of the support for the subpart of provision Remarks/Explanations: Explains how it does or does not support the provision 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 10
  11. 11. Level of Support Supporting Feature Phrase What It Means Supports Fully meets the provision Supports with Exceptions Does not fully meet but provides some level of access Supports through Equivalent Facilitation Meets by providing an alternative method Supports when combined with Meets the provision when used with compatible assistive compatible AT technology Does not Support Does not meet the provision Not Applicable Provision does not apply Not Applicable – fundamental Fundamental alternation of the product would be required to alternation exception applies meet the criteria 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 11
  12. 12. Example – Section 1194.21 Criteria Supporting Features (a) When software is designed to run on a system Supports through that has a keyboard, product functions shall be equivalent facilitation Remarks and explanations The website can be accessed with the keyboard except for the drag and drop form control, increase and decrease value and the executable from a keyboard where the function calendar control. An alternative and equivalent version has been itself or the result of performing a function can be provided for all data entry. discerned textually. (b) Applications shall not disrupt or disable Supports The website does not disrupt or disable Windows operating system activated features of other products that are accessibility features such as high contrast mode, filter keys, toggle identified as accessibility features, where those keys, sticky keys, and the on-screen keyboard. features are developed and documented according to industry standards. Applications also shall not disrupt or disable activated features of any operating system that are identified as accessibility features where the application programming interface for those accessibility features has been documented by the manufacturer of the operating system and is available to the product developer. 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 12
  13. 13. What Sections Are Required? • Websites – Subsection 22 & 31 • Web applications – Subsection 21, 22, 31 and most of the time 41 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 13
  14. 14. WCAG 2.0 Statement of Accessibility • Two options: – Accessibility statement describing level of compliance with WCAG 2.0 success criteria – Conformance claim 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 14
  15. 15. CHALLENGES WITH VPATS 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 15
  16. 16. Company Perspective Release schedules often tight Balance between features and accessibility Time for accessibility testing Large, distributed teams New staff may not know accessibility New product acquisitions / third party applications Section 508 is outdated set of guidelines so does not always make sense given current technology • Telling too much can hurt the sale of the product • • • • • • • 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 16
  17. 17. VPAT Consumer Perspective • Procurement officer does not know how to interpret it • Difficult to know whether or not the VPAT is accurate and complete • Often does not have a lot of information • Information contained in the VPAT may be confusing • Product may not be available to verify the information • Hard to compare competing products based on VPAT – Subjectivity by VPAT authors and product reviewers – Detail and completeness may vary by authors – The product with fewer apparent problems may get selected even if it is not the most accessible 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 17
  18. 18. General Issues with VPATs • Provisions are high-level and do not provide enough information to know if it will work for a person with a disability • Meeting the guidelines does not always mean it will work well with all assistive technology 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 18
  19. 19. What challenges do you face? 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 19
  20. 20. What is a good VPAT? • Has enough information to know what the issues are and the impact of those issues • Clearly identifies what areas of the site are covered under the VPAT • Documents types of users who may have issues with the product • Provides details for all provisions on how it meets or does not meet the requirements 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 20
  21. 21. What are some examples of good VPATS? 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 21
  22. 22. Example VPAT language (d) Sufficient information about a user interface element including the identity, operation and state of the element shall be available to Assistive Technology. When an image represents a program element, the information conveyed by the image must also be available in text. 11/6/2013 Supports © 2013 Interactive Accessibility Application includes modal dialogs, expand/collapse sections, and tab structures. The identity, role and state information that is convey visually is available to assistive technology such as screen readers. 22
  23. 23. Example VPAT language (d) Sufficient information about a user interface element including the identity, operation and state of the element shall be available to Assistive Technology. When an image represents a program element, the information conveyed by the image must also be available in text. 11/6/2013 Does not support © 2013 Interactive Accessibility Application includes modal dialogs, expand/collapse sections, and tab structures. The information including identity, operation and state is not provided to assistive technology. Users with visual impairments using screen reader and screen magnifier with speech may have difficulty interacting with these user interface elements. 23
  24. 24. 5 Practical Tips HOW TO VERIFY A VPAT 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 24
  25. 25. Tip 1: Review the VPAT language • • • • Review content for clarity and completeness Identify inconsistencies Look for detailed explanations Understand what the impact would be and who would be affected 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 25
  26. 26. Tip 2: Run Accessibility Checker • Many tools available to check underlying code – WAVE toolbar – Sortsite • Cross-reference reported issues to VPAT WARNING: Automated tools only capture 25-30% of the accessibility issues on the page 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 26
  27. 27. Tip 3: Try Product with Screen Reader • Goal of the guidelines is to ensure that it works with assistive technology • Testing with screen reader will identify issues that all users with disabilities may face – Keyboard only – Navigation structure – Readability of content 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 27
  28. 28. Tip 4: Meet with Company • Get further insight into details of provisions • Gauge the level of knowledge of the team in Section 508 – Did they just copy language from some where else • Get development plan for areas of non-compliance • Ask questions about the impact the issues identified would have on a person with a disability 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 28
  29. 29. Tip 5: Get Feedback From Users Satisfaction Error Prevention Learnability Efficiency Effectiveness 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 29
  30. 30. What do you do? 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 30
  31. 31. Questions? 11/6/2013 © 2013 Interactive Accessibility 31
  32. 32. Kathy Wahlbin Email: Phone: 978-443-0798 @wahlbin Are you accessible? Thank you!