Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPATĀ®)

A product's Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT®) shows compliance with accessibility law by detailing how the product complies with accessibility law criteria. The official versions of the VPAT® are hosted on the Information Technology Industry Council website. 

Getting a VPAT®

Many vendors have VPAT®s for their products on their websites. If not, request one from the vendor. If the VPAT® is older than version 2.2 or the date is more than a year before, request a more current one.

Here is typical language to use in a VPAT® request:

Northern Illinois University is purchasing [product name] [vendor's invoice number if available].

As a public university in Illinois, we must comply with

regarding technology accessibility.

We need a VPAT® 2.2 or higher for our records. In addition to the VPAT, we also invite you to share information about planned accessibility improvements for your product (third party certification, usability test results, etc.). 

Thank you,
[your name, position, etc.]

Reading a VPAT®

Having a VPAT® does not guarantee that a product is accessible. If it includes criteria labeled "Supports with Exceptions" or "Not Supported," then the product is not fully accessible. The report has three columns:

  • each criteria
  • if the product meets the criteria
  • remarks and explanations, such as what specifically is an issue, a workaround and a timeline to compliance.

Since NIU is required to meet Level AA criteria, which includes Level A, review the tables for both levels.

You can get an idea of a product's accessibility by checking the following criteria:

  • Keyboard (2.1.1): Can someone navigate to every part of the application and participate in every interaction using only a keyboard (not a mouse)?
  • Link Purpose (2.4.4): Every link name indicates where it will go (no links with names like  "click here," "this" or "more").
  • Focus Visible (2.4.7): Is the cursor location visibly located by an outline or underline (as you navigate using Tab, look for cursor indication)?