Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT)

I guess this post is a mix of “does this exist?” and “it should be a thing.”

A little background. I teach the majority of an Electronics Engineering Technology A.A.S. degree program. In the program we cover PCB design. It’s currently based around Eagle, but I want to include KiCad so students have something to use at home.

To include the KiCad in my courses I have to have a VPAT stating accessibility compatibility for people with disabilities (we are a government organization). I searched the forum and internet and found a couple of post commenting on functionality, but nothing explicitly stating what features and functions can be handled with different types of accessibility functions.
Did I miss something in my searches, or is this something that doesn’t currently exist? I know the open-source aspect makes things like this a low priority, but I thought someone may know.

What is required from a CAD GUI program to be considered accessible? How do other ECAD programs fulfill the requirement?

The design itself is graphical, so it requires vision. I don’t think a screen reader would work with KiCad.

Using KiCad effectively requires mouse or other comparable pointing device and keyboard. Using keyboard only could theoretically be possible but doubt it has been considered in the GUI. Using mouse only would be more feasible.

VPAT is formal documentation under Section 508 in the US or EN 301 549 for the EU that outlines program fulfill with the requirements in the respective standards. The thing about VPAT is its not about being compliant with accessibility but rather a measure of “how much compliant” are you. Either way its quite a lengthy write up.

You can see the VPAT here under resources on the bottom of the page:

Each respective document references the full standards, i.e. 508 which requires reading those standards to make sense of VPAT’s line items.

1 Like

Couldn’t find such a thing for Eagle, but here’s an example from autocad: https://damassets.autodesk.net/content/dam/autodesk/www/migration/government/2019/Autodesk_AutoCAD_2019_VPAT.pdf

Doesn’t look like it would take more than an hour to fill out, most of the answers are “not applicable”. Maybe you should have a crack at it then open an issue/PR on gitlab?

We don’t operate under a unified legal entity to endorse such paperwork.

maybe he can pay KiPro to sign off on it

It’s not a legally binding document. More like a features inclusion statement.
I’m currently in discussion with Autodesk about their vpat statement for Eagle.
If I was more familiar and had more time, I’d take it upon myself.

I mean, I can’t imagine anybody is going to bother with it if you don’t.

I appreciate your candor. This seems to be the norm in the EET world. Of the software we use to instructor with, I have only found 1 program with a VPAT.

This is one of the interfaces the KiCad Services provides to users with specific contractual requirements. This is similar to security assessments for government contracts. We provide a named legal entity that can certify builds and stand behind the assessments.

Seth made a good point.
KiCad services corporation may be able to help you with this for a much smaller fee then it would cost to equip a whole school with licenses of some commercial EDA suite. And you save time for not having to negotiate some kind of special fee for your students to use that “other” piece of software.

And on top of that you get unlimited free updates, and your students can do their homework on their own computers anywhere they see fit, and share their projects with their friends or strangers (gitlab, github, etc) alike.