Transcript for “Understanding VPATs | Ensuring Accessibility Compliance” Webinar
Transcript with Audio Description
[00:00:00.11] Starters, obviously, really appreciate everybody jumping on. I’m sure people will continue to trickle in, and I’ll go through some webinar housekeeping, as far as recording and distributing the recording as well. So obviously, if you have to jump, don’t feel like you’re going to miss it, because we will distribute it after the call. I kind of wanted to just say hi to everybody. I’m then going to turn my camera off, because I’m going to be looking at questions on one screen, my presentation on the other. So I don’t want you to be distracted by me looking all over the place like I’m distracted. I promise I’m not. So with that, I will kick things off on today’s webinar.
[00:00:37.27] Really, I think, important to just give a very 100,000 foot overview on Allyant Again, both Aaron and I and will give some introductions on the next slide. Really appreciate everybody taking time out of their busy days today to jump on our webinar. Snapshot of Allyant just to paint the picture of who we are if you do or don’t know us. We are a global leader in accessibility solutions. We really have a trifecta of solutions that we offer across customer communications to our clients and prospective clients. Obviously, we do web and digital accessibility. That’s what we’re talking about today. And our VPATs play into that role. We also have a very large document and PDF remediation division and a robust services on that front, and last, but certainly not least, we also do alternative format.
[00:01:23.29] So providing large flow, reprint, Braille, et cetera. So alternative communications for our customers as well. We’re very proud and happy to be presenting today from the Allyant side. I will now provide introductions to our team. AP, I will let you go first. And one thing I will mention, Aaron Page is obviously AP. It’s a forced habit. I’ve worked with Aaron for many, many, many years. I call him AP, so if you hear me say Aaron or AP, I’m obviously talking about him. But Aaron, take it away.
[00:01:56.21] Thanks, Ryan. And hello, everybody. It’s nice to get a chance to talk with you today. My name is Aaron Page. I am director of accessibility here at Allyant. I myself am blind. I was born with congenital glaucoma. I lost my remaining functional vision about 15, 16 years ago now. I’ve been working in the digital accessibility space for 10 years, the last five of which have been with Allyant. I actually started off as one of our native screen reader auditors here, so conducting audits using screen reading software alongside a sighted auditor to ensure that your content is not only conformant, but also usable. And over the years, I’ve managed to grow in my role. And so now, I oversee our digital audit teams, and I work alongside our sales folks like Ryan here to do these accessibility-related presentations. So it’s a pleasure to talk with you all today, and I’ll hand it back to Ryan.
[00:02:43.76] Absolutely. Thank you, Aaron. And brief introduction into me and my role. My name is Ryan Wieland. I’ve been here at Allyant for a little over six years, it’s crazy how time flies. So I’ve been in the accessibility space for quite some time. My official role and title is VP of digital accessibility sales, so through that work, I truly am blessed with this role here. And I mean that in every sense of the imagination. I get to work with customers not just here in the US wherever I’m located, or a lot of our staff is located, but also globally helping teams understand how accessibility can play into their customer communications, helping them build roadmaps.
[00:03:21.20] I’ve had the opportunity to work with really small clients all the way up to very large enterprises, which keeps me on my toes. So I echo Aaron’s thoughts. Really, really excited to talk today about VPATs and really, how VPATs play into broader accessibility roadmaps, journeys, procurements, et cetera.
[00:03:39.53] I will start off with a little webinar housekeeping. So one thing I will say, and Aaron and I talked about this a lot. We love for these to be as interactive as possible. I will do my best to hand it back and forth so you’re not just listening to my voice, because that would be very boring. And AP has quite literally the most amazing insight in the space from my perspective. So I’m going to tee him up a lot of times. But we also want to hear from you. If you have questions, I do have the question box open on one of my other screens. I’ll do my absolute best to keep track of that. We’re happy to answer questions in real time as they arise on something that we’re talking about, or if it’s more broad, we should have time at the end for questions as well.
[00:04:20.66] The webinar is being recorded, as you might be able to see. As soon as we get proper transcripts on the webinar after the fact, we will distribute this across the board. So it might take a few days for our team to have it ready, but then we will be able to distribute that as well. So if you have to jump, if you have other team members that as you go through this conversation or this webinar, might be helpful for them to see, A, you can reach out to us at any time. B, we will distribute the recording after the fact as well. The last thing I will say is AP I love to meet and talk with people. So I will speak for both of us and say if you have questions, we would love to connect with you on LinkedIn. We’re always looking to expand our network of Accessibility Professionals and Accessibility Champions. So feel free to find us there.
[00:05:02.75] And at any time, if you have questions from the webinar, our services, how we could support, you can always go to Allyant.com. It’s on every one of the slides, I think. So really simple to get a hold of our team.
[00:05:15.06] With that, I will jump down and talk through a little bit of a webinar agenda. One thing that I think is really, really important and that I want to talk about today is that AP and I are going to try to focus on stuff that’s more actionable, more tactical. There’s a lot of things you guys could do, googling, you can open up ChatGTP. You can find a lot of the baseline information on VPATs. We don’t want to spew a lot of that to you, we’ll give kind of a little background on VPATs from a really high level on the next slide.
[00:05:45.63] But then we’re going to get more into the nitty gritty. We want this to be tactical that your team hopefully has ideas, concepts, whether you’re in procurement or on the product side. You can leave the webinar and start to build action items and roadmaps for accessibility through the VPAT concept and product. With that, I think as part of being interactive, AP, I’m going to I’m going to tee you up and put you on the spot. I would love to know from your perspective to kick things off. When you hear the word VPAT, what do you think? And then I’ll go next. But I’ll leave it to you.
[00:06:16.68] Yeah. That’s a great question. So in my experience in the digital accessibility industry, I’ve actually been on both sides of the fence when it comes to VPATs. My work prior to Accessible 360, now known as Alliance Digital Division was at the University of Montana where my role involved reviewing software that we were interested in procuring for use there on campus to evaluate its accessibility. And as part of this, we would always request a VPAT from vendor. So I’ve have experienced being on the receiving end of a VPAT. And now also with my experience at Allyant, I’ve actually helped produce VPATs and been on the side of the production of them.
[00:06:58.57] And my initial gut reaction is is that they can be very useful documents if they are created right and if they are accurate and well disclosed. And we will talk more about what constitutes a good VPAT versus a bad VPAT later on. But they are a useful tool that you have to be very cautious with. You need to pay attention to things like who made it? How accurate is it? How detailed are the notes? When was it done? What does it encompass? All of these various points that can really make or break the usefulness of a VPAT, so very mixed feelings about them, especially from the receiving end, because the usefulness can really vary. And we’ll talk more about that.
[00:07:43.45] No, that’s perfect. And little did you know, perhaps you covered all of the high level topics I was going to touch on this slide that we’re going to talk about today. So perfect, you made my job easy there. With that said, I think I’ll go next. And I have a little bit different perspective than AP, and I think that’s a good thing. I’ll give a loaded answer. When I hear the word VPAT, unfortunately, a lot of times, it comes with panic. It’s a product provider, a vendor that is selling a digital product, a piece of software, an application. And in any procurement process, through the RFP process, someone at final stages of procurement asks for a VPAT. They don’t have one, they’ve never heard of it, and they need one as quickly as possible because it’s blocking a sale.
[00:08:29.68] So I have a little bit of mixed feelings on VPATs as well. That’s honestly, when I think VPAT, it’s almost always what I think about from an initial perspective, good, bad, or otherwise. And the other thing that I would say that I think about is really, more tactically, I think about VPATs in the sense of it’s really just a piece of a broader accessibility journey. A VPAT as a standalone product, as we will talk about, as AP alluded to, it has a time and a place, but it doesn’t mean something’s accessible. It also doesn’t give really tangible feedback for design development teams to understand how to build the accessibility journey.
[00:09:10.84] It’s just part of that accessibility plan. And I think it’s an important step, or piece of that, but I really think about this being in many situations, a jump point to build a broader accessibility roadmap and accessibility journey. So a VPAT, and that request for a VPAT in the procurement process, can lead to a lot more accessible products, both directly and indirectly. So that’s sort of what I think when I think VPAT. And with the next slide, I will give a little history on the VPAT. Again, this is a lot of the stuff you could Google, so I’m going to keep it short and sweet, just so that we cover the baseline for this acronym. We are going to use the word VPAT. The reality is, this stands for Voluntary Product Accessibility Template. If anyone didn’t know that, just to kind of put that out there, so we’re not going to say that word every single time, because I would fumble with it left, right, and sideways. And I’m sure AP would as well.
[00:10:02.48] This is a standardized format developed by the Information Technology Industry Council. So the ITI does theoretically manage this template. The current version of the template is 2.4, which it was last updated, I believe, in March of 2022. So that’s where the VPAT comes from, that’s what that acronym means. With that said, and this is where we’ll really dive into tactically using a VPAT as AP alluded to, the reality is, it’s just it’s just a template. And the output is custom to each individual, digital product, or software that someone is looking to have a VPAT.
[00:10:40.99] I think the last thing I’ll talk about on this slide is, and I think AP will have some good thoughts on this as well, perhaps, too is, who owns a VPAT? I think it’s one of the most common questions that I get, is, well, who should we ask for of VPAT if we’re on the procurement side, right? And the reality is, a lot of teams on the procurement side, or organizations looking to procure software and wondering about accessibility, or maybe asking for a VPAT, I think on that side of the fence, it has to be more broad, right? I don’t think there is one internal champion for accessibility or procuring accessible products. I think it’s the procurement team, I think it’s the accessibility team, it’s like lead marketing teams, IT, digital. I think accessibility holistically, not just for VPATs, have has to be owned by a lot of different team members to really drive success.
[00:11:32.29] I think on the product side, so if you have a digital product, and we’ll talk more about the types of things we generally do VPATs for on the next slide. If you’re on the product side, I think it runs a pretty wide gamut there as well. A lot of the people that I talk to in helping them obtain a VPAT, leverage a VPAT, et cetera on the front end, many times it’s product managers, development teams, a CTO, an IT champion, et cetera. So I think you can run a pretty wide gamut. I think that’s an important part of the conversation, is in where we’re at with accessibility and with accessibility in the digital world still growing very rapidly, I don’t think there’s always one person who’s managing or owning something like a VPAT or accessibility in general. AP, anything to add to that from your perspective? Again, you lived on the other side of the fence, as you alluded to. So I think you might have some good thoughts on that.
[00:12:20.16] Yeah, no, it’s a great point. And in the end, an organization, yes, you might have a procurement team. But they are not the only ones that are going to be going out there and are going to be purchasing software, are going to be identifying tools. And so not everything is going to be able to go through them. It’s important that everybody who might be in a position of acquiring software or technology for use throughout an organization is aware of what a VPAT is and is asking that question when they are talking to vendors or being pitched on software or hardware-based solutions, they are asking whether or not there is a VPAT available. Ultimately, some type of a structure has to be put into place for comparing them. And I think we’ll hit more on this later on on what you actually do once you receive a VPAT.
[00:13:07.01] That, I think does tend to require somewhat more of a centralized structure, a process for being able to do apples to apples comparisons between them. And that’s just talking about the receiving end of a VPAT. The production end of it becomes an entirely different story about who within the organization that develops software or hardware is responsible for ensuring that a VPAT is generated. And the question of usefulness, I think another point that we’ll talk probably more about is the fact that VPATs that are generated internally are often viewed a lot more skeptically or not at all by outside vendors.
[00:13:44.37] So for example, if you develop your own VPAT rather than having a third party company do the development for you, a third party accessibility vendor, those VPATs might be perceived or seen to be less accurate or less useful, because it wasn’t an independent third party that generated the VPAT.
[00:14:02.67] Yeah, I think that’s great insight. AP, one quick thing, and I don’t know if you can solve this. Jason, I know you’re on as well from our back end side. There was a question about your mic, AP. It’s a little loud. I don’t know how we would adjust that, but Jason, if you have any thoughts on that, or AP, I guess, just talk quieter.
[00:14:23.73] I’ll do my best. I have a very projecting voice, so my apologies.
[00:14:27.63] Yeah, so glad that question came through. No, I think that’s perfect insight, AP. I appreciate it. With that said, I want to next jump to [INAUDIBLE] because I think one of the most common questions that me and my team get on our side is, do we need to a VPAT? Or, when do we ask for a VPAT? Or, what does a VPAT apply to?
[00:14:46.83] The reality is, it is pretty broad. And AP, I’ll hand it to you on the latter half of this slide and the latter half of this discussion. The reality is, I’ll put things into boxes, right? Most times, and most is an ambiguous word. What we help our clients with VPATs on, or get asked about to assess VPATs for are digital products or IT products that can be purchased.
[00:15:14.44] And that’s generally where the VPAT template comes into play. A couple of things that I would highlight from this perspective is specifically, we think about Section 508 conformance. So Title II organizations, government, municipalities, certain health care providers, public education, a lot of times, when they’re procuring things like HR software, learning management systems, or education software. For example, I have a first grader in school who all of a sudden is using Chromebooks. If there is a student in the classroom that has any sort of disability and they’re using something that is virtual learning or on that Chromebook, is that accessible? So not leaving that student out.
[00:15:56.96] Additionally, if you’re a parent or a grandparent and you’re putting lunch money on your child’s account, can you do that accessibly? Because most of that is not a physical check anymore. We’re all doing it virtually. I would also say that one of the bigger trends that I’m certainly seeing in the space is more of the commercial side. Teams thinking about VPATs and accessibility and procurement, in the sense of reducing legal risk. And we’ll talk a little bit more about that as we go through. But thinking about things like financial calculators, website chat bots. So that’s most of the times, what we are providing or helping organizations provide VPATs on, are assessing from the procurement perspective. It is something that you are looking to purchase that is a application or software or product. With that said, and this where I’ll hand it over, AP, the reality is the VPAT aligns with WCAG, as we’ll talk about in the next slide in a little more detail. But with that in mind, it can be pretty holistically used. Like it could be a website, mobile app, an e-book. I mean, it’s kind of limitless of what a VPAT could theoretically be performed on.
[00:17:02.21] Absolutely, yeah. When you think about the way the WCAG is applied now, yes, the name of it is Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. There was actually talk about renaming it to W3C Accessibility Guidelines, and I don’t know where that’s going, or if that’s ever going to actually end up happening or not. But just because it’s called Web Content Accessibility Guidelines doesn’t mean it’s only being applied specifically to websites or web-based applications. We see WCAG being applied to websites, web applications, desktop applications, native mobile applications, conventional electronic documents, even in some of the recent notices of proposed rulemaking that have been put out by the departments of Justice, Health and Human Services. WCAG is the standard that is being applied across all of these types of software and content and applications.
[00:17:53.36] Slide, How do you translate a V PAT?
[00:17:55.93] Absolutely perfect. Perfect insight there, AP. With that, I’ll go to the next slide. And just FYI, for everybody that’s on, if you happen to not be able to see the screen, the slide deck from my perspective is really just to give some high level bullets for people to look at as has AP and I talk. So it’s not necessarily to be tracking along, or if you’re dialed in, you’re not necessarily missing anything. I do have an image on this slide. So I’ll kind of explain this image, and then I’ll hand it off to AP to give his amazing insight, again, having been on the receiving end of many of the VPATs, how he would assess this. So what I want to talk about here is how do you translate an VPAT? Because a lot of times, the pain point that we hear from procurement teams, or teams looking to procure software is someone gives us a VPAT and we have no idea what this means.
[00:18:47.44] On the next slide, we’re going to dive into some of the things AP led into. How should you test? How should testing be done? Why is a third party important? So we’ll get into those elements of it. But I think it’s important to see and listen through the snapshot of what is the output on this template? Because it is a very specific template that sort of has really specific things that you need to do and fill out. There’s generally three columns in the bones of a VPAT template. The one column is the criteria, so which success criteria are we responding to, or is the VPAT responding to? On the screen, I have 1.3.2 meaningful sequence, 1.3.3141 et cetera. And then in the middle, it’s conformance level.
[00:19:28.64] So it kind of breaks down at each of those guidelines as AP talked to, what is the conformance level of the product that is being assessed or tested. There’s five things that sort of fall into the conformance level, so it’s a little bit black and white in that sense, which I don’t think accessibility is very, very black and white. So the conformance level is supports, partially supports, does not support, not applicable, and not tested. And then the third column is remarks and explanations. So AP, do you want to dive into more depth, having again, assessment of VPATs on articulating the results? When you get one of these, if you’ve never seen one or if you’re an internal vendor and you’re looking to articulate these results to an end client, what does this mean? And what could this theoretically mean to someone, as it relates to conformance?
[00:20:19.84] Yeah, thank you for that. There’s a few things when you go to look at a VPAT document here that I certainly would be focusing in on it. And I think one of these, we talked a little bit about already is where the VPAT is coming from. Who is the one who is in fact, creating it? That right there is going to potentially give you a feel about the credibility, potentially, of the VPAT. Was it actually an accessibility subject matter expert or an independent third party who doesn’t necessarily have a stake in being able to say supports all the way down the line. Anything that’s generated by an independent third party, usually can be kind of considered to have a bit more weight than something that was than a VPAT that might have been generated by the vendor’s own internal IT team.
[00:21:06.05] And then when it comes down to looking at the individual line items, the individual success criterion, and there are several different versions. There are actually four different versions of the VPAT template. However, in the end, WCAG is really at the heart of it. The versions are there is one for section 508, one based on WCAG, and then another one based in 301 549 in the EU. And then there is one called the International version, which essentially consists of all three of these combined. But really, when you actually look at section 508 and 301 549, WCAG is what is being referenced at the heart of these standards. Yes, they might have some additional requirements on top of them, but WCAG is at the heart. And so really regardless of which VPAT template is being used, you’re largely going to be responding to its accessibility, as measured by WCAG.
[00:22:03.62] When you actually go and look at each individual line item, it really is kind of up to you to decide how you feel is best to use or interpret these results. You might just simply hang on to it and do an apples to apples comparison. So I’ve received three different applicant tracking system VPATs. Let’s compare them and see which one has the most supports, rather than the most does not support. Other organizations, back when I worked at the University of Montana, one approach that we actually took was to generate a score depending on the responses here. So depending on which WCAG success criteria it was and depending on what the response was, whether it supports, partially supports, does not support, that would generate a value, a score for that line. And in the end, you would add up the score, and that would give you a number, a rating to rate the VPAT on, so you could then compare it to other VPATs using the same scoring system and compare the value of it.
[00:23:05.87] There’s lots of different ways in which you can interpret the actual VPAT results itself, and then the comments column is maybe the last part I’ll mention before I hand it back over to Ryan. The V in VPAT stands for Voluntary. And so because it’s voluntary, it’s up to the software vendor to decide how much information they want to include in here. And so the scope can vary, or you might see some VPATs where they have partially supports, and then they have a very well articulated explanation in the notes field describing what part is not fully supported, what alternatives there might be, things like that. And on the other hand, you might have situations where something is listed as partially supports, does not support, with no related information in the notes field. The usefulness, in terms of that, you’ll find will vary quite a bit.
[00:24:00.54] Slide, OK I need a V PAT!
[00:24:02.82] Absolutely, thank you AP for jumping in on that front. So now we’ll sort jump into what AP did a fantastic job of teasing, of how do we build out– and actually, I did see a couple questions come in. So actually, I’m going to pause for a second. I’m to read these. So AP, you why don’t you take this one while I assess the other ones? Kareem, great question. Is a VPAT only for software vendors, or is it for all products, so hardware and software? You want to take that one, AP?
[00:24:37.33] Yeah. If you’re talking about software specifically, then really, it would be more the WCAG versions of the VPAT. However, if you’re talking about hardware that might be sold, especially when you think about, say, the higher education space, hardware is subject to the requirements of Section 508. And so in that situation, if you are a hardware vendor, you may be interested in having a VPAT created based on the functional testing requirements of Section 508. So there are situations where it would go beyond software quote, unquote, desktop apps, web apps, that type of thing, to include hardware. But I think that that’s pretty rare. My experience for the vast majority of VPATs that I’ve seen, it’s really focusing on software and electronic content. But you can theoretically have VPATs for hardware out there.
[00:25:32.41] Perfect. And I’m going to get to another question. David asked a great question, in real time, AP, about your scoring process. So this question is, can we get more information about the scoring process that you used? Were any of the scores weighted or prioritized over another criteria, or was the scoring evenly implemented across all of the criteria? I think, David, AP, I’ll let you answer live, but then it might be a good one for us to follow up with David on as well, because maybe we can have a more detailed discussion.
[00:26:00.19] Yeah, no, it is a great question. And I will say, this was the approach that we worked with back when I worked at the University of Montana. This is about five, six years ago for me now. And my role was more doing the actual testing rather than the VPAT analysis. So I don’t remember the details exactly on, did each individual success criteria have a different weight? I don’t believe that was the case. I believe the scoring system that we used, anyway, was relatively straightforward, something to the effect of if it was marked, if a success criteria was marked as supports, it got a five. If it was partially supports, it got a three. If it was does not support, it got a one. Or something akin to that was the process that we used. But I think the big thing there is you could really weight this however you like. So I absolutely could see the idea of saying, OK, 2-1-1 keyboard operable, I’m going to give that success criteria significantly more weight than say, color contrast, or text within images, some other requirement like that that might not have it quite as burdensome an impact on the end user in the event it’s not made.
[00:27:16.24] I think that was a perfect answer. And I love all the questions you’re [INAUDIBLE] So Susan, will the presentation– I’ll answer the easy ones here. Susan asks, will the presentation be shared? Yes, we can absolutely share the presentation, Susan, and any other ancillary information as needed. So Jason, I’ll let you jot that one down. David, would love to talk more about the scoring, if you want to discuss more offline. That’s perfect, we’d be happy to. Let’s see, there’s one. I can’t see the name, but it said, did who completed the VPAT AP have an effect on the scoring? Great question.
[00:27:59.34] Yes, I do believe it did, though I can’t honestly say in terms of the mathematical number what we changed, in terms of that. But yes, who generated the VPAT, where the VPAT came from was certainly something that we took into consideration. And one thing that has changed over the years, we have certainly noticed compared to five, six years ago when I was working on VPATs for the University versus now, you do tend to see it a lot more VPATs coming from outside vendors. And also, these VPATs coming from outside vendors tend to be more obvious now than they used to be. They usually, if they are coming from an outside vendor, you’ll notice that the VPAT document has that vendor’s branding or references to that vendor that are added to it. So it tends to be a little bit more apparent now than it used to be whether or not the VPAT is actually coming from a vendor, but absolutely, it was something we took into consideration when generating the score.
[00:28:59.89] I love it. That’s perfect. David, you asked a great question. So how do you validate the credibility of a VPAT submission? For example, does the submitter have to provide documentation reporting to validate their claims? That’s a great one. I’ll leave that one there, because we do have a slide that we should have time to get to. That’s a fantastic question. We’re going to talk more about the procurement side of accessibility, and I guess, assessing VPATs in general, so that’s a great one. Kareem said it’d be great to get an example of a VPAT that includes hardware and software. Also if a VPAT is focusing on software, then wouldn’t it be fair to request that the vendor conforms to WCAG 2.1 A or AA. Thoughts on that, AP? But I’ll also collect that.
[00:29:51.66] Yeah, in the VPAT template itself, actually, you can indicate which conformance level you’re looking for, or that you’re planning to indicate. So when you’re writing up a VPAT or you’re having a vendor write up a VPAT for your software, you can choose whether or not you want the VPAT to only show level A success criteria or level A or level AAA. You also can choose the version of WCAG that you want on there. Many of you probably are aware WCAG 2.2 came out in the last couple of weeks. If you haven’t seen it, we’re going to have a webinar on it next week. Highly recommend you all sign up for that if you haven’t already. But if you are wanting to do a VPAT, there isn’t a template for WCAG 2.2 yet. So right now, your options really are just 2.0 and 2.1. But say your software is conformant to 2.0 but not yet to 2.1, you could simply provide a VPAT that only focuses on WCAG 2.0 level AA, that way, it doesn’t penalize you, in that sense, for not yet having made your way to 2.1. So it’s flexible, in that regard.
[00:31:00.82] Fantastic. And we’re seeing a lot of questions, AP, maybe we just broadly answer. Most hardware does not have a VPAT, is that correct? And there’s a lot of questions around hardware versus software. I would say from my perspective, that’s correct. But I’ll let you answer from your perspective.
[00:31:18.02] Yeah, no, I think that is definitely true. The real situation where you’re going to be seeing hardware-based VPATs are going to be entities who are looking to sell their hardware to somebody who falls under Section 508 requirements. That’s going to be the kind of big scenario where hardware-focused VPATs might be showing up, but that that’s quite rare, from my experience.
[00:31:46.52] Perfect. And then I’m going to– a lot of questions. So I love this. This is exactly what AP and I were hoping for. I kind of bundled these two into one. So Megan asked a great question. If you’re doing a VPAT that is for WCAG 2.0, should you use the current template for 2.1? And then we also had not an exactly similar question, AP, but then an anonymous attendee, so I can’t see the name, asked which version of the VPAT should folks be sharing with the vendors, 508, WCAG, or international? So I have some thoughts on that, AP, but I’ll let you talk about those if you want to take a first crack.
[00:32:28.48] Yeah, I think to the point to the question about which VPAT template to go with, I would recommend the WCAG-focused one, if you’re talking about websites, web applications, desktop applications, mobile apps, that type of electronic application or content. The WCAG one is really going to be the most relevant for you. It’s going to be the most straightforward to do, most likely if you’ve already gone through an accessibility audit, or have internal accessibility specialists who are working with an accessibility vendor, they’re already going to be focused on WCAG as the standard. So it’s just really the kind of natural one to go with. And unless you are specifically mandated or requested to provide a VPAT that outlines your conformance to say section 508 or 2-301 549, then I would not focus on that if you’re just electronic content to begin with. The WCAG one is the most appropriate. And I’m sorry, Ryan. I think there were two parts to the question that you have asked, and I got one of them. But I missed the other.
[00:33:33.92] Yeah, you know what? This is Zoom operator, I hit answer live, and that it went away on me. But I believe the question, and Meg, keep me honest. Please feel free to repost your question if I miss it. I think your question was if you need a VPAT for WCAG 2.0, should you still use the template for 2.1?
[00:33:54.08] OK, yes, yes. You can, yes. There is actually a specific option that you can put in. I honestly don’t remember it off the top of my head. There’s supports, partially support, does not support. I want to say it’s something like not tested or does not apply, something to that effect that you can put down on the 2.1 success criteria if your focus is simply to 2.0. So yes, you can still use the latest and greatest template, even if you’re only conformant to 2.0 right now and not to say 2.1. And eventually, I would expect that there will be an updated version of the VPAT template that will have 2.2 on it, and the same thing will still apply. You’ll still be able to limit it to just 2.0 if that’s what you’re currently conformant with and focused on.
[00:34:41.08] So again, an advantage and a disadvantage to the VPAT is as you can see, it’s really up to you to decide how much information that you want to put in these. What version of WCAG, what level do you want to say does not apply on them? Do you want to provide notes on them? There’s a lot of flexibility here, and that flexibility makes it nice when you are needing to create one for your software, but can be difficult when you’re on the receiving ends to compare VPATs across products, because different ones may take different approaches and provide more or less information. It’s difficult to use them to make an apples to apples comparison, hence the scoring approach we took at the University.
[00:35:23.00] Yeah, perfect, AP, and I think another one– and I can kind of lead off on this one. Great question, Ana. Is a VPAT flexible in that if it’s based on WCAG 2.1, but the software doesn’t meet every single line item, is it not qualified for that? In other words, is 100% compliance required to achieve that level of WCAG? I think that is a great question, and it’s kind of a loaded answer, right? Because I think from my perspective, and we talk about this all the time. The reality is, there is no website or application out there that’s probably 100% compliant. It just simply doesn’t exist. So what I would say one thing that I always help clients with is a VPAT, again, is part of a broader accessibility roadmap product journey.
[00:36:08.69] So say you get an audit on your product to WCAG 2.1, part of that output and building that accessibility conformance report, or more specifically, an accessibility roadmap, because that’s really key to long term product accessibility. Getting the audit done, understanding the deficiencies, and then, obviously, that vendor can do a VPAT, because a VPAT is very templated. But the reality is, the only way you move that product forward is you actually focus on resolving those issues and prioritizing those issues. So AP, I don’t know if you have anything to add to that, but I think it’s definitely flexible. You can get a VPAT that’s basically totally non-conforming.
[00:36:46.32] That was the point that I was going to maybe jump in with, is that a VPAT has options for supports, partially supports, does not support. You might, even if you’ve not undertaken really any accessibility efforts, you might still have a VPAT generated for your software just simply so you may submit to an RFP process. There are some organizations that won’t even allow you to submit an RFP. If you have no VPAT for your software. And so even if the VPAT might be terrible and it might say, does not support, or partially supports all the way down the line with the success criteria, that might not in the end matter if your goal is simply to have the VPAT to be able to make that submission.
[00:37:28.86] And then oftentimes, over time, you can work on those issues, as Ryan talked about, and improve that. But really, it’s not like something like what we offer a letter of conformance, where you’ve got to hit these requirements, you have to have these issues resolved, in order to be able to get it. You could have a fully accessible, fully conformant application and get a VPAT. You could have a completely not accessible application and have done no work around accessibility and still be able to get a VPAT. The VPAT is just going to say doesn’t support or partially support something like that. So it won’t look great, but you can get a VPAT anywhere you are in your accessibility journey, start from there and work your way up.
[00:38:12.34] Absolutely. So that’s perfect. And then Robert, I apologize. I missed your question up higher in the chat. So thank you for asking it again. So AP, Robert’s question is let’s see. How should a VPAT author address items that require user input? For example, if you were writing a VPAT for a program that exports PDF and requires the author to add Alt text, what would you write in the VPAT/ACR? I think let’s focused more on VPAT in this case. Great question.
[00:38:41.44] Yeah, so if I’m understanding you correctly, the question is if you’re talking about a VPAT for a software tool that allows the user to create content, and the example we’re talking about here is it allows you to create a PDF, and you can insert an image into the PDF, and you have the ability to generate alternative text for the image. In my mind, that would mean that that is supported. That, to me, would seem like a strong indication that you support 1.1.1. In the end, if the purpose of the tool is to create content, you’re getting a little more into the authoring tool Accessibility Guidelines, rather than the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. The ATAG, they live alongside WCAG, and there’s also the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines out there, to make it interesting.
[00:39:34.67] And it’s different sides of the house. You’ve got the actual end user, that’s the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. You’ve got the content creators and the tools that the content creators are using, that’s the focus of the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines. And then you have the assistive technologies and the user agents that are used to engage with that content, that’s the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines. And so here, the tool you’re talking about is kind of more falls under ATAG And what ATAG says, first and foremost, is that you want to give the user the ability to create content that is accessible. You don’t necessarily have to require it. A nice, easy to think of example is Facebook.
[00:40:16.61] On Facebook, you can upload images and posts, right? There is an option to provide alternative text for the images on Facebook. You’re not necessarily required to do it, but because Facebook provides the mechanism for that content to be given alternative text, that image content, that meets the ATAG requirement there. That ATAG requirement really translates in WCAG to 1.1.1 non-text content. And so that’s how I would think about it, is this software application gives the user the ability to insert an image. Does it allow the user to make the image accessible? Yes, it does I would say supports on 1.1.1, at least when it comes to that particular piece of functionality. Hopefully that answers your question.
[00:41:02.18] Perfect. Let’s see if there was a follow up. Robert said, yeah. Thank you for the information. Super helpful. So perfect. Awesome. Well, let’s see. There’s one other one, AP. This would be a fun one, because we actually just had this conversation, I think, recently, internally. When should we consider a WCAG-EM report instead of a VPAT? I don’t know if you want to take that one, I can layer on it if I have anything for more of my perspective.
[00:41:27.98] Yeah, I wouldn’t suggest a WCAG-EM report. They’re very narrow, compared to any kind of audit you would get from Allyant, or any of our competitors in the space, WCAG-EM tends to be extremely narrow. And I would say it’s just not a common deliverable that people would expect. I’ve never seen an RFP that said, you’ve got to provide a WCAG-EM report, whereas I’ve certainly seen and know of plenty where they’ve said you’ve got to provide a VPAT And so overall, between the two, I would definitely steer you towards a VPAT over a WCAG-EM report. If you’re thinking about a WCAG-EM report, then really, what you should probably be thinking about is something more akin to the letter of conformance that we offer at Allyant, something that’s probably going to have a bit more heft to it that’s again, done by an outside third party. I don’t know, Ryan, if you’ve got more you want to add to that.
[00:42:29.11] I think actually, the slide that I’m on now, sort of jumping back to the deck a little, then I’ll get you to monitor questions as well. I think that’s a great question and segue into sort of broader accessibility. Because I think we certainly do and can provide WCAG reports for our clients, just like we can in VPAT through an accessibility audit, as can other competitors. I think the importance there is all of these reports and outputs can be requested or required by one vendor, or one provider to the next. The reality is the baseline is how you’re testing and how you’re driving product accessibility.
[00:43:08.38] So let’s say on the call, we’ve done a great job of convincing everybody, I’ll say you’ve done a great job convincing everybody, AP, that they need to think about accessibility and get a VPAT, it’s kind of like, what’s next, right? And I think on this slide in where we’re going to go next is more of the importance of understanding, and I could probably say this 100 times a day across hundreds conversations, it’s really important with accessibility to understand this isn’t a box checking exercise. It’s not black and white, there is no one size fits all. All of this is just part of a broader accessibility journey. And I think a big part of that is how you should test for a VPAT.
[00:43:46.30] I think we saw some questions that we talked about, and I knew we’d get to them later, I think the biggest part about whether we’re thinking VPATs or accessibility conformance reports, or WCAG, the reality is that the testing has to include people with disabilities. And so AP, obviously this is near and dear to you. I’ll let you touch on that part, like why it’s so critical both when you obtain a VPAT to ask and ensure that testing was done with people with disabilities, but also how that sort of lends into the broader accessibility journey, and providing cleaner reports across all of these things we’ve talked about downstream.
[00:44:24.13] Yeah, thank you for that. So yeah, it really is important. And a common thing that we’ve hit on throughout our talk today is that you do have to be a little bit skeptical when you are looking at a VPAT. They are voluntary, it is up to the vendor to decide how much information, how complete and thorough and accurate they really want to be. And obviously, if the VPAT is coming from an independent third party, you can kind of give it a greater assumption of accuracy. But in the end, you really do want to take these and verify them, do your own independent testing.
[00:45:00.98] And this is where my life basically was most of the time in my previous work at the University, was actually conducting user testing with screen reading software to see if what we found really aligned with what was being stated in the VPAT in the cases where a VPAT was actually provided. And obviously, this was six or so years ago, and so VPATs weren’t nearly as common as I would say that they are today. And so it was pretty rare that we would get one to begin with. But in those situations where a VPAT was provided, then it was particularly useful to be able to do our own testing to see, is our experience aligning with what is being said in the VPAT?
[00:45:44.84] And the reality of it is most software is huge, right? There’s a lot of features, a lot of functionality. You simply can’t go in, and you can’t test every piece of an application. I mean, imagine the idea of going into Microsoft Excel and saying, go and test every option in every ribbon bar to make sure every single one of them is accessible. You can’t do it. And so really, in the end, you have to think about it from somewhat more of a usability standpoint, what is the most common use case for this tool going to be? When we were at the University, the big way that we addressed this was by talking to the people who wanted to buy it. Why do you want to buy this tool? What are you planning on using it for? How are most faculty and staff and students going to engage with this tool? That flow, that’s what we want to test most particular.
[00:46:36.30] To make an easy to illustrate example of this is if you think of a tool like Calendly, where yes, Calendly allows you as a user to be able to manage your calendar, but how are most people really going to engage with Calendly? They’re going to book appointments with you, that’s probably the most common user flow that’s going to be gone through or encountered, is the actual process of somebody clicking the Calendly link in your email, signature or on your profile page, and actually scheduling an appointment. So that is a great place to focus your user testing on to see, OK, I’ve got a VPAT from Calendly. If I go test this user flow of actually booking an appointment with somebody on Calendly, is what I’m finding aligning with what you see in the actual VPAT? And that type of information, you’re really only going to be able to find with actual user testing. And that’s where a new offering that we rolled out actually called Procure Insure kind of comes in. And I think that might be where we’re going next, so, Ryan, I’ll hand it back to you.
[00:47:38.02] Yeah, we’ll definitely touch on Procure Insure as the conversation goes on. So that’s extremely insightful. And I appreciate you taking that one. I think the other thing that I would just touch on, it kind of came through in your review as well. And I saw a question on it, or maybe more of a comment. I forget who provided the comment about ensuring that a VPAT is up to date, but also done by a third party. I’ll be completely transparent. So coming out of the disability in global conference down in Orlando in July, where our team was there, and got to have a lot of amazing conversations, one of the biggest things I came out of that conference with is that teams are starting to build accessibility into procurement. But specifically, they want testing done by a third party.
[00:48:24.24] They don’t want to take VPATs at face value if testing is done by an internal team or filled out by someone who maybe isn’t an accessibility professional. Because the reality is, and I think you articulated this perfectly earlier in the conversation, AP, is that it’s voluntary. I could go out, I could download the template today and I can fill out in 20 minutes on any product I’ve used in the last five years. Doesn’t mean I have any clue if it’s accessible or not, but you could fill it out. And I think that’s where the importance of third party testing in not just looking at a VPAT at face value, which I’m hoping we have time to get to some of the future slides, where we do talk about how procurement teams can be thinking about this as well. I think it’s a really important part of it.
[00:49:05.62] And I’m not saying that we need to do the VPAT or do the testing, but the reality is I think having third party validation to ensure accuracy, to ensure that it’s done with the best intentions versus just filling out a VPAT to check a box in with an [? RP, ?] right? Because there’s nothing that any sales team in the world that sells products likes to hear worse than we get to the end of the RFP process, we’re going to deal. We’re unaccessable, or we haven’t thought about accessibility. So AP, I don’t know if you have anything else to add, or maybe we’ll touch on this in the Procure Insure part.
[00:49:36.91] So we can just leave it till then, but your insight from Montana as well, right? You lived this. And I think if you have any other thoughts on assessing VPATs in that requirement that they’re done by a third party, feel free to add it. Otherwise, I’ll kind of move on so we get to the last couple slides, which I think are an important part of the conversation as well.
[00:49:57.89] A Tale of Two Sides.
[00:49:59.62] Maybe you’ll touch on that as we go through.
[00:50:01.93] I’ll just jump on it. Because we can obviously answer more questions. And I want time at the end for questions as well. So I think we will sort of– final section before– and AP and I, again, we’re talkers. But we’ll get through this is as quickly as possible, because we do want to consume more questions, if we can. It’s sort of like, thinking about a VPAT, at least, as I think about them in the marketplace, and get these questions from customers every single day. It’s kind of a tale of two sides. One side is the product side, and one side is the procurement side. And so I think when we think about this from a product side perspective, so if you’re on this call and you have a product, you sell software, you sell something in the digital space, and you’re thinking about now getting a VPAT, you have a VPAT, you’re doing testing the right way around a VPAT.
[00:50:47.32] I think it’s really important to think about using this as an ongoing benchmark. A VPAT is a template. It’s part of a broader accessibility journey, but it’s certainly not an end all be all. It’s just part of that journey, but I also think teams should display this. If you have updated VPATs, and Christine, I think it was you that mentioned if a VPAT is 18 months old, is the team even managing accessibility, right? I think a VPAT can be an interesting product for holding teams accountable internally. We had our last VPAT done 18 months ago, we’re certainly due for an update. And the other part of that is teams can certainly use a VPAT as a benchmark over time. It’s not just doing testing and having accessibility conformance reports and roadmapping and benchmarking of actual live user testing, but the reality is, if you get a VPAT today and you’ve never done accessibility testing and this is a new horizon for your team, that’s OK.
[00:51:44.51] And this is the first benchmark in that journey. But the reality is six months from now, 12 months from now, 18 months from now, there should be more things that fall into that supports bucket. And that’s where I think VPATs are just a small part of the broader accessibility and usability of products was really important to ensure that your team is improving over time.
[00:52:06.30] And so yeah, Christine, I really loved that comment. Like you said, if you see a VPAT that’s 18 months old, reality is, it’s probably not that accurate. What digital product or software hasn’t had significant enhancements in the last 18 months? None, right? Almost every website gets changes every single day. So that’s what I wanted to touch on there, is how product side teams can use that VPAT and use it to their advantage. If you have a strong VPAT, if you’re focusing on accessibility, your competition is not, I wouldn’t shy away from it. AP, anything to add on that? And then I’ll go to more of the procurement side, where I know you have a lot of thoughts.
[00:52:39.95] No. I don’t think I’ve got any more to add as it stands now. And look forward to talking about procurement.
[00:52:46.02] Perfect. So then I’ll go to the other side of the tale, right? And the other side is the procurement side. So you work in higher education, government, or any organization, any industry, and you’re trying to build out accessibility as part of your procurement roadmap, and I think the biggest thing I’ll talk about here is really two things, and then I’ll hand it to AP, is don’t take VPATs at face value, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. And I think there’s a lot of amazing vendors in this space that would be happy to help build procurement models for your team. I’ve referenced them once already, I’ll reference them again. The disability in organization and the work that Jeff and his team are doing through Procure Access, which we are big fans of, big proponents of, they have a lot of amazing resources.
[00:53:32.04] And I think that’s the one thing that I’ve been really excited about in this space, when we think about accessibility and specifically, procurement accessibility, is there is a lot more resources than there were 12 months ago. In fact, substantially more. So that’s the one thing I would say, is if you’re in procurement and you get a VPAT, don’t feel like you have to try to figure this thing out. There’s a lot of teams that can help you, we’d be certainly happy to help you. And I’ll let AP talk about that as we talk about ProcureEnsure on the next slide to close things out.
[00:53:58.66] But then the final thing I’ll talk about is, and I think this is so critical in anything in accessibility. So I’ll talk about it in the sense of VPATs today, but I don’t think it’s just VPATs, is baby steps can lead to giant leaps. I think teams with accessibility and accessibility procurement are so afraid of doing things perfectly. And no one’s perfect out of the gate. You got to start somewhere, and if you never start somewhere, you never get anywhere. So again, it could start with simply just asking about accessibility. In that procurement process, as you’re talking to a vendor, just ask them if they have a VPAT. Ask them if they’ve had live user testing done, just ask really simple questions. And look, we’re happy to help you with building out those questions for your team. At any point in time, just reach out. I’d be happy to chat with you about that.
[00:54:47.05] The reality is, if they look at you like they saw a ghost, no pun intended, Halloween’s next week. And again, I have first graders, Halloween is on the brain. If they look at you like you’re a ghost, they probably haven’t thought about accessibility. Or to Christine’s point earlier in the comments, if they send you something from 18 months ago, they’re probably not actively thinking about accessibility. So the final thing I’ll say and then, AP, I’ll hand it to you, is if you ask about accessibility up front, it allows you to build this into the contract process and reduce the legal risk versus procuring software, deploying it to your consumers, deploying an HR system to your employees, then having an employee with a disability raise their hand and say, look, I can’t use this. And then it’s too late.
[00:55:26.80] If you sign it through your agreement, it’s a lot harder to push back on that. So I think building realistic benchmarks into contracts, into RFPs, into contract renewals where it’s like, hey, we want to see accessibility improve over the next 12 to 18 months. The reality is, again we got to start somewhere. Asking the vendor to make a massive platform fully accessible in the next two months, not realistic. That’s never going to happen and they’re probably going to shy away from it. But I think creating realistic benchmarks that are achievable is really important. With that, AP, I know it’s near and dear to your heart. Do you want to talk about the legal risk side of if you procure software, you deploy it to customers on your website and it’s not accessible, like why accessibility is critical to that piece of procurement? Because ultimately, it’s the procuring entity assuming that risk.
[00:56:14.56] Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. And this is actually for me, how I got started in the accessibility space. Was while I was a student at the University of Montana, they were targeted by an office of civil rights complaint because many of the software tools they had implemented for use on campus, including the learning management system, the collaboration online conferencing tools that the campus was using, these weren’t accessible. And it’s almost a kind of loophole, or a donut hole in our laws that it’s OK if you are a software vendor to sell an accessible software to something like an organization. The onus is on the entity that’s procuring the software to ensure that the software they procure is, in fact, actually accessible. So it’s the University who is liable for the accessibility of the software, not the vendor that is selling the software.
[00:57:06.94] And so that puts organizations in a really difficult spot. And so these points that Ryan’s made in particular about asking questions about accessibility early in the process, see if they even know what a VPAT is. You’d be surprised what kind of a filter that might actually be to see. If they even know what a VPAT is, that at least tells you they have accessibility on their radar. If you get a deer in the headlights type of response, what is a VPAT, then that really does give you of a clue as to where they are at in their accessibility journey. And then thinking about, as you are going through the procurement process, your contract language, aim high, obviously. Ask for indemnification, ask for service level agreements that accessibility issues are going to be resolved within amounts of time. In the end, what you can get away with will come down to your size as an organization and the kind of purchasing power that you have.
[00:58:06.64] For example, as I understand it, the California State University system actually includes a lot of indemnification language around accessibility in many of their procurement agreements, whereas a smaller institution, like the University of Montana might not necessarily be able to do that. But if you have the purchasing power, leverage it to be able to request or require accessibility-related language in your contracts. And then ultimately, if you do get the VPAT, as we’ve talked about all throughout this presentation, don’t take it at face value, even if it is coming from an independent third party. It really is important to do your own testing on it. And as part of that office for civil rights complaint that the University of Montana received, they were actually required to conduct their own independent testing of software. They simply weren’t allowed to just take a vendor at their word. They were required to do their own testing.
[00:58:57.63] And so this was what made up the majority of my time. And it really created a bottleneck for the organization, put them in a difficult spot where you only had one or two people internally available to do testing for all of the software that is being considered for use on campus. And it creates this kind of large bottleneck that really creates a barrier to being able to be efficient and roll out new tools. And that’s where a tool that we’ve recently developed called ProcureEnsure comes into play. And Ryan, is this a good spot to maybe chat a little bit about that?
[00:59:31.80] Yeah, I just switched the slides, AP, so you can let it rip.
[00:59:35.15] Perfect, OK. So as I mentioned, back when I worked at the University, this created a real bottleneck. Being able to do our own independent accessibility testing and VPAT validation, actually determining if the information provided in the VPAT was, in fact, valid. And so this pain point combined with a disability, and they’ve recently released a kind of procurement tool kit that is a very useful resource. I’d highly recommend you check it out, I believe it’s called Procure Access. And one of the big things it also calls for is to conduct your own independent testing and assessment of software and validity of the VPATs.
[01:00:15.55] And so we at Allyant have really sought to kind of fill this need by offering what we now call ProcureEnsure. And ProcureEnsure is essentially a free up to two-hour assessment that you can ask for on any piece of software that you are interested in procuring. So if you’re using that Calendly example that we talked about earlier, you’re interested in procuring Calendly for use at your organization. You’re not sure about the accessibility, you were able to get a VPAT. You’re not sure how useful or accurate this VPAT happens to be. You can actually work with Allyant, reach out to us, and we would be happy to conduct a kind of quick two-hour assessment by our live auditing team, including users with disabilities who actually use screen reading software and other assistive technologies. And if there’s a VPAT, we’ll review that and give you a high-level overview as to whether or not the VPAT in general seems to be accurate based on what we found.
[01:01:07.19] And if there is not a VPAT available, which unfortunately, is very often the case, we can at least give you a high level usability feel. So we can let you know, here’s the functionality of the application we tested. We spent a couple hours on it. Here’s what we found. We feel it either is usable, it’s not usable. We essentially use a red, yellow, green rating system on it. Where red denotes we found that it had accessibility issues, those accessibility issues were so severe. We believe it would prevent users of assistive technologies from being able to use the application. A yellow rating indicates we found accessibility issues, however, the accessibility issues, or WCAG violations were not so severe that we feel they would genuinely prevent users from being able to perform the core functions of the application. And then a green rating is we reviewed it, we didn’t really find any significant conformance violations. We felt that it was usable. Everything is hunky dory.
[01:02:03.47] And so it really is a great high level overview of, does this seem to be usable? Because in the end, as Ryan was kind of talking about in the litigation side of things, when it comes down to I’ve received a lawsuit or a demand letter saying my software or my website is not accessible, it doesn’t end up being a let’s debate the nuances of WCAG. Are you conformant to each one of these conformance requirements? What it really comes down to is a question of usability. Do the issues that are prevent the user from being able to actually do what it is that they need to do in the application? And that is what we can usually tell you with a quick assessment, like what we do in ProcureEnsure. Ryan, if you want to take it from there.
[01:02:46.29] No, that’s perfect. I’ve been answering questions in real-time as well, as best I can in the chat, so there’s a few I can answer. So I think you touched on it perfectly from there. I’ll sort advance to just the final slide and say from myself, from Aaron, from the entire Allyant team, we sincerely appreciate you attending the webinar today. If there’s anything we didn’t get to, if you have any questions, again, reach out via our website. Shoot us an email email@example.com. We would be happy to chat further on any of these topics or anything accessibility. And again, I greatly appreciate you attending. Whether you know or not or would admit to not attending one of these webinars or anything in accessibility, makes you a champion for people with disabilities and for accessibility more broadly. And I wouldn’t take that lightly.
[01:03:33.59] The final thing I was going to say, because I know it’s one of the hottest topics in this space right now, and you already talked about it, AP, but I’ll talk about it really quickly again, is that Aaron and team are doing a webinar next Thursday on WCAG 2.2. So you can also find information about that and sign up for that on our website as well. With that, I’ll monitor questions. So we had one– Yes, one person said ProcureEnsure would be very helpful. You’re an anonymous attendee, I can’t see your name. But yes, we agree. Shoot us a note at anytime, we’d be happy to run you through a more detailed overview of this service.
[01:04:14.79] Robert, thank you for attending, and then Kareem, I’m answering your question in real time. So any other questions from the attendees out there? I’ll kind of leave it for a minute to see if any flow in.
[01:04:26.49] Text, 1 800 5 6 3 0 6 6 8. allyant dot com. info at allyant dot com.
[01:04:34.84] Kareem asked about turnaround time. Yeah, so great question on ProcureEnsure, I was actually typing an answer, Kareem, but I’ll just say it live since we are now talking about it. We have another question in the thing. So look, the pain point that we’ve heard even for teams that have internal accessibility teams, right and AP lived that life, was turnaround time. A lot of times, even if they do their best effort to deploy Procure Access with disability in, or think about procurement accessibility, the biggest challenge that teams have is that takes 6, 8, 12 weeks for an internal accessibility team member to do a procurement assessment, and that’s just simply too long.
[01:05:10.45] You’re trying to move something through procurement, you want to advance. Generally speaking, we can turn ProcureEnsure assessments around in about a week. So we cut that timeline down significantly. And we know the urgency. When you’re sort of in that [? RF, ?] [? PRFI ?] process and you want to have some immediate feedback on the level of accessibility of a product that that’s important. So yeah, generally within the week. AP, anything to add?
[01:05:33.94] Yeah, the only thing I’ll just chime in with is usually the thing that can delay a ProcureEnsure Assessment is getting access to the software to do the testing. Once we have access to the software that you want us to review, we can usually turn that around, just like Ryan said, within a week or less. The hiccup when it arises tends to be around getting access to the software so we can actually conduct that testing. And that, we usually need help from the requesting entity on. So if you come to us and say, I want to use Calendly, we need your help getting access to Calendly to be able to do that testing, presumably you’re in contact with a sales rep. Hopefully that sales rep can connect with us, get us access to a testing environment. But getting access to do the testing usually is what takes the most amount of time.
[01:06:23.75] Yeah, great point, AP. And then an anonymous guest asked, so easier for us to provide login credentials? Short answer to that, in parallel to AP’S comment, which is a great add on to mine, is yes, with that said, and what I was actually answering, I’ll answer it in real time versus typing my answer, is we do have a template built. So it doesn’t mean you have to use that template, but it just helps teams pass to their internal team members, IT members, marketing team members that are looking to procure something, like, hey, here’s what Allyant needs to provide the assessment. So we certainly could pass that along to you. You can alter that template, we can customize it for each individual provider. But it’s generally, hey, these are the key things that we need to provide a ProcureEnsure assessment, and then once we have that, we’re ready to rock and roll. So that’s a great question.
[01:07:21.99] So Christine asked if she could get the template. Yeah, Christine, if you want to shoot our team an email, I’d certainly be happy to provide that to you. So short answer to that is yes. And then Elise, will this webinar be available to view later? So yes. It will be available for viewing later. Our marketing team will be ensuring everything’s buttoned up from a [? captain’s ?] perspective and then both contacting everybody that was part of the webinar and providing them a recording link, and Jason, if you’re still on, keep me honest. I think we’ll also have a link on our website to access it later on as well.
[01:08:05.46] You’re absolutely correct.
[01:08:07.08] Perfect. Yep, great question. And then Laurie, yeah, great question. Yeah. So yes, we can do cost for beyond that two-hour window. So the highest use case for ProcureEnsure is just give me that sort of like knee jerk feedback on accessibility. With that said, of course, you can’t fully assess a product within two hours, so we certainly can map out a customized plan and cost for doing deeper testing as you see fit, or specifically as the vendor sees fit.
[01:08:37.95] A lot of times, the output for procure ensure is, look, this isn’t accessible. And that allows you, as a procuring entity potentially to ask that vendor to work with some sort of third party. But the short answer is yes, and then limits to the number of software. To date, we’ve kept it at 100. But we’re happy to have further conversations on that point as well. So reach out at any time. Great question, Laurie. And hopefully, I answered it [INAUDIBLE]
[01:09:09.61] Awesome. I don’t see any other questions, so again, I appreciate everybody jumping on, spending time with us today. We’ll get this recording out ASAP. And then Laurie, quick answer. Let’s see. Yes, Laurie. Per entity. So not across the universe, per entity. So if you were a– pick out a simple example.
[01:09:33.56] I don’t know Laurie, where you are right now, or who you work for. But say you’re at a University, it’d be 100 per year for your University. Great question. Great clarification. Awesome, I think that’s all the questions we have. So I’m going to stop share. Looks like I answered Laurie’s question. Great, win for me today amongst AP’s wins. That’s all I think we have. Again, appreciate everybody’s time, and hope to chat with you all further.