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Solutions for Accessible Instructional Materials

NIMAS Master, devoted to accessibility remediation services, is an offering enabled by Digital Media Initiatives.

When developing complex interactive web based electronic content, publishers must follow the best practice of considering accessibility and Section 508 requirements very early in the planning and design stages, before work on development begins. To meet the accessibility requirements in our environment, digital services must meet level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines ( WCAG 2.0/ 2.1) as a minimum.

  •   ⬤ NIMAS Conversion Services
  •   ⬤ Accessible PDF Remediation Service
  •   ⬤ Accessibility Audits
  •   ⬤ VPAT Evaluation Services


Accessibility Laws

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits disability discrimination by all public entities at the local and state level, including K-12 schools. These schools are required to comply with many regulations.

Section 504 prohibits K-12 schools from denying participation in education or extracurriculars due to a child’s disability. It also expands the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to protect a broader range of children with disabilities.

Section 508 relates to electronic and information technology, and covers access to federal programs and services. Several regulations require these programs to provide accessible tech and web content. The Assistive Technology Act will not provide funding to states unless they guarantee compliance with Section 508.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures that students with disabilities are provided a Free Appropriate Public Education that meets their individual needs.

Many states have enacted their own accessibility laws similar to Section 508.

State boards of Education (SBOE) share common areas of jurisdiction: statewide curriculum standards; high school graduation requirements; qualifications for professional education personnel; state accountability and assessment programs; standards for accreditation of local school districts and preparation programs for teachers and administrators; the administration of federal assistance programs; and the development of rules and regulations for the administration of state programs.

State Boards of Education accessibility policies may apply to any student depending on his or her needs and whether or not the student meets the eligibility criteria. Accessible instructional materials (AIM) are allowed for any student who needs them. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires school districts to provide accessible versions of instructional materials to students who are blind or otherwise unable to use printed materials. Students with disabilities should receive materials in accessible formats at the same time as their peers receive their textbooks.

State-adopted accessible instructional materials, including braille, large-print, audio, and digital, are provided free of charge to eligible students.



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Accessibility Specification

NIMAS Master/ Digital Media Initiatives (DMI) offers expert Accessibility Audit and Remediation Services for print and digital publications and web applications aligning the Instructional Materials with to the following accessibility specifications:

National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS)

The NIMAS is a technical standard used by publishers to produce source files (in XML) that may be used to develop multiple specialized formats (such as Braille or audio books) for students with print disabilities. NIMAS-conformant content must be valid to the NIMAS 1.1 [aligns to DAISY/NISO Z39.86 2005 or subsequent revisions]. In addition, files are required to use the tags from the Baseline Element Set when such tags are appropriate.

PDF/UA (Universal Accessibility)

Ensuring content is accessible to users with disabilities presents broad and complex challenges in any technology. ISO 14289-1 (PDF/UA-1) specifies technical requirements for PDF 1.7 (ISO 32000-1) -conforming files to ensure a high-quality and consistent reading experience when used by a variety of PDF/UA-conforming processors and assistive technology.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible.


Our Method

Our method to validate conformance to the Revised 508 Standards is hybrid in its approach - a combination of automated and manual testing and remediation. A hybrid testing approach is usually the best solution to handle a large volume of electronic content.

Best Practices

1. NIMAS Files Best Practices

2. Microsoft Word Document: Accessible Electronic Document Community of Practice (AED COP)’s Microsoft Word 2016 Basic Authoring and Testing Guide.

Accessible PDFs: Accessible Electronic Document Community of Practice (AED COP)’s How to Create, Test and Remediate PDFs for Section 508 Conformance Using Adobe Acrobat DC Pro (March 2019).

4. PDF/UA in a Nutshell | PDF Association.


1. Validate rulesets (NIMAS/ WCAG 2.0 AA, Section 508, ISO 14289-1, PDF/UA) for different types of content (Adobe Print-PDFs, Web pages, MS Office documents, etc.).

2. Assess each ruleset for reliability, accuracy and alignment with the SBOE agency requirements.

3. Test Bed: (a) Checkpoints Listed; (b) Document is opened; (d) Run the ruleset.

4. Compare the test results manually by senior experts who are trained to perform manual testing.

5. A framework is created to remediate and test against the ruleset till an acceptable level of accuracy has been achieved in our environment.

Remediation Process

1. A hybrid production approach is usually the best solution to handle a large volume of electronic content. We follow a combination of automated and manual process.

2. Specifications (NIMAS 1.1, ISO 14289-1 (PDF/UA-1), (WCAG) 2.0/ 2.1 Level AA, Section 508 Revised) are followed as per the education agency requirements.

3. Specifications based checkpoints are reviewed and remediated.

4. Remediated documents are scanned and tested.

5. Corrections are carried out till an acceptable level of accuracy has been achieved.

6. Validation reports are submitted to authenticate the remediated document.

7. Files submitted for post-production review and validation.

8. We can provide a Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR) aligned to the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT®), which is the leading global reporting format for assisting buyers and sellers in identifying digital products and services with accessibility features. The current version of the VPAT® is Version 2.3 (April 2019). We cover VPAT 2.3 508: Revised Section 508 standards – the U.S. Federal accessibility standard; and VPAT 2.3 WCAG: WCAG 2.1 or ISO/IEC 40500 – W3C/WAI’s recently updated Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, either separately, or incorporated in the VPAT 2.3 INT.


Remediation of EPUB and DTB

For remediation of Accessible EPUB and Digital Talking Books, PLEASE VISIT THIS PAGE.