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Accessibility and SLS

covers what SUNY Library Services is doing to address accessibility both internally and for SUNY

Best Practices for Reviewing a VPAT

Here are some things to consider when reviewing the VPAT®:

  • Currency: When was the report published? On what version of the VPAT is it based?
  • Commitment: What indications show that the vendor takes accessibility seriously? Do they provide a dedicated accessibility contact person? Do they have an accessibility statement and/or webpage on their site? Do they provide a road map detailing when problem identified in the report will be resolved?
  • Thoroughness: Does the vendor provide full remarks and explanations as to why they meet or do not meet the criteria requirements?
  • Level of Support: How many of the criteria are identified as Does not Support, and in which sections (i.e. Level A, Level AA, Level AAA)? For those areas where it notes that it does not support the standards, is this reasonable? For example, if there is no audio content on the site, the vendor might have marked the captions and transcript criteria as does not support, when it might have been better to mark it as not applicable.
  • Accuracy: Based on review of the platform, are the vendor's assertions about the site's accessibility still valid? Has the platform's accessibility improved or degraded since the report was published?

In order to evaluate the accuracy of the VPAT, it may be necessary to perform top level testing on the platform. For examples of this kind of testing, see any of the reviews in the SUNY Library Vendor Accessibility Repository. General areas of review are 

  • Images and Text: Does the platform provide alt-text for images? If the site includes PDFs, are they tagged for accessibility and able to be read with a screenreader?
  • Captions, Audio Descriptions, and Transcripts: If the platform includes audiovisual content, is it captioned appropriately? Are transcripts available? Does the video content offer audio description?
  • Adaptable: Does the platform allow users to gain access through a variety of methods, including screenreaders?
  • Distinguishable: Is color alone used to impart information (such as identifying parts of a chart by color alone)? Does the color contrast on the pages meet accessibility standards?
  • Navigable and Keyboard Support: Does the platform support keyboard navigation? Does it provide skip links to let users bypass the menus to get to the main content? Are there keyboard traps like a Twitter feed?
  • Seizures: Does the site contain flashing content that might trigger seizures?
  • Predictable: Is the site organized in a predictable way? Are menus in the same place on all of the pages so that it is intuitive to navigate?
  • Input Assistance: Are the forms coded correctly so that a screenreader or keyboard navigation could identify the fields? Is there any assistance offered if the user enters something incorrectly?
  • Robustness and Compatibility: Does the platform behave the same way in different browsers and on a variety of devices? Is the content responsive when used on large and small screens?

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