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Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR) – Its Importance & Key Components!

By: Skynet Technologies USA LLC
8 mins
500
ACR Accessibility Conformance Report

The Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR) is a document that helps describe a product or service’s accessibility level and standards that it adheres to (for instance WCAG). The document is a comprehensive review of a specific product or service that is used for external compliance checks and internal assessments.

Don’t forget, it is distinct from Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT). Once an organization fills VPAT, it has an ACR ready to share and publish. The ACR is based on different accessibility standards. Most widely, WCAG 2.2 ACR is used to show conformance. However, there are ACR requirements for EN 301 549 and Revised Section 508 standards as well.

Whenever a product gets updated such as version change, bug fixes, pending updates, etc., the ACR must be updated.

Before beginning with ACR requirements, organizations ought to know about its latest version and fulfil its requirements. Currently, ACR 2.5 is the latest version, which was released in November 2023.

Why ACR is important?

Buyers or vendors of the products and services use the ACR to compare compliance levels among various organizations. Generally, ACR is useful in the procurement process. Though it is not mandatory, organizations are required to produce it because it ensures the accessibility and compliance of products.

Crucial to know that ACR is compulsory for specific organizations/agencies that adhere to Section 508 to sell or purchase their products or services:

  • State government agencies
  • Government agencies
  • Non-governmental organizations that receive government funding
  • Private schools and universities
  • Online stores
  • Information and Communication technology

Thus, the organizations that fall into these categories must adhere to ACR guidelines. Apparently, its legal and regulatory importance cannot be denied. Filling out a Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) to generate an ACR is important to comply with the law. Please note that a VPAT filled for Section 508 includes some extra criteria other than generally found in the WCAG.

So, the ACR is critical for the above-mentioned organizations due to following reasons:

  • Procurement of products and services
  • Compliance requirements
  • To cover a wider market segment
  • To bid for some specific services such as schools can bid for new virtual learning environments or enterprises may bid for video conferencing software, etc.

What are the components of ACR?

An information and technology product needs to fulfil the accessibility criteria mentioned in the Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR). Based on the responses for each criterion, a score is assigned for ICT product, which ultimately denotes if the product supports, partially supports, or does not support the criteria. If the given criterion does not apply to the product, it is recorded as Not Applicable.

Though it is difficult to understand and apply various accessibility standards and their requirements, it must get done. The ACR also specifies the version of the accessibility standards thereby stakeholders get a clear and complete idea of product assessment.

In ACR, in-depth findings are generally presented in a tabular format. It gives a systematic and easy-to-understand view of information to users. Accessibility Conformance Report contains detailed evaluation information, which makes it useful for developers and end users both.

An ACR has below-mentioned parts/components:

  • Product summary: It includes a brief, relevant description of the product or service, ACR’s publication date and version number, evaluation methods, and contact information.

  • Applicable standards: These are the standards that a specific product or service is intended to conform to.

  • WCAG 2.x report: A wider segment of ICT products or services use WCAG standards for their accessibility guidance and ACR. Further, there are, levels (A, AA, and AAA) for WCAG standards, and organizations comply with them as per their requirements.

  • Revised Section 508 report: Government agencies in the USA are required to conform to revised Section 508 in order to offer accessible products and services. Section 508 is further broken into four chapters and agencies conform to the related standards.

  • EN 301 549 report: It is required for products and services used by government agencies in the European Union. EN 301 549 is divided into ten chapters with various guidelines on accessibility.

  • Legal disclaimer: Organizations can provide a legal disclaimer at the end of the document if they feel the need for it.

Also, every standard is further divided into individual criteria, the extent to which the product meets a particular criterion and supporting comments.

The ACR applies to products or services belong to various ICT categories such as:

  • Electronic content like websites, web applications, PDFs, and web-based authoring tools.
  • Software like native mobile applications, desktop applications, assistive technologies, video communication software, etc.
  • Hardware like mobile phones, peripheral devices, and kiosks.
  • Other documentation and services like help documentation, contact information, user manuals, etc.

How can Skynet Technologies help with ACR?

At Skynet Technologies, we have a team of seasoned professionals to produce ACRs for various ICT products and services against different accessibility standards. We follow a streamlined process to generate an ACR:

We begin with understanding the client’s requirements and what standards apply to their products. A thorough brainstorming session with all stakeholders happens to decide how to complete the VPAT.

Followed by the product's actual review by our team against the accessibility standards it is required to create an ACR. Our team decides which tools are required for automated testing and how to plan manual evaluation to understand the product’s accessibility level. Assistive technology verification has also been reviewed. After an in-depth review of the ICT product or service, the assessment process starts.

Based on assessment results, our experts begin filling out VPAT. Please note that supporting documents might be needed as evidence of accessibility for certain criteria. The final outcome is known as ACR.

Moreover, if an organization wants us to continuously conduct retest on the product, we accordingly update ACR for them.

Count on Skynet Technologies for the VPAT / ACR Report!

An updated Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR) ensures that an ICT product or service adheres to the accessibility standards and is safe to use or procure. Also, the accessibility standards evolve with time, necessitating periodic revisions to the ACR. Thus, organizations are required to reach out to accessibility experts for help to avoid compliance issues.

Regularly review and update ACR to reflect any changes in product, service, or relevant accessibility standards to improve the reliability of the ICT product or service.

Gain confidence in your digital accessibility compliance with our VPAT / Accessibility Conformance Report service. Ensure your website or application meets the highest accessibility standards, empowering all users to access your content seamlessly. Our expert team will provide comprehensive evaluations and detailed reports, guiding you towards accessibility excellence. Don't let barriers hinder your reach – prioritize inclusivity and accessibility today. For more information reach out [email protected] or contact us .