There are 2 sides to every story: VPATs

Handouts Media

Presented at 8:00am in Cotton Creek I on Wednesday, November 20, 2019.



  • Kara Zirkle, Training and Compliance Manager, Essential Accessibility

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: All Levels
  • Type of session: General Conference


Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPATs) — are they worth it? This has been a controversial conversation in the past with no real underlining answers. We'll discuss the lifecycle of the VPAT question from the requestor/customer, 3rd party vendor and an accessibility vendor.


Working as an accessibility vendor who produces VPATs for companies and as a presenter having a past life in Higher Education and Government arenas where I was the person asking for VPATs I find this to be a unique conversation where both sides can be told and yet provide a 3rd side to the story. Regardless of what role we play, there are benefits to VPATs. We’ll break down what a full circle story looks like in the eyes of all parties involved.

We'll discuss some of the challenges faced when the customers asking vendors for VPATs, the vendors having to complete VPATs for the customers as well as when the vendors reaching out to 3rd party accessibility companies to complete VPATs.

Seeing this lifecycle from all viewpoints helps to understand the challenges and by educating those in the process of the challenges faced throughout may help close gaps in the process.


  1. To understand why asking for a VPAT is beneficial.
  2. Gain knowledge of the full process when asking for a VPAT (customer to vendor response)
  3. Better understand the challenges throughout the life-cycle process of requesting and receiving a VPAT.

Disability Areas

All Areas, Other

Topic Areas

Legal, Procurement, Uncategorized, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Kara Zirkle

Ms. Zirkle has over 18 years’ experience working with individuals with disabilities and education/outreach. She is an advocate and educator with regard to providing technical support, awareness, and guidance on assistive technologies as well as the laws around overall accessibility and those that protect individuals with disabilities. Kara has worked in Government, Higher Education and Non-Profit. She has worked to ensure that Section 508 and WCAG compliance of electronic and information technology (E&IT) is accessible to everyone, regardless of disability.