Reviewer Guide

The Accessibility Review Guide for SIMnet is intended for 3rd party accessibility testing and verification reviewers.
SIMnet’s accessibility goal is full WCAG AA compliance. We often accommodate WCAG AAA criteria within our reach. However, full accessibility in certain components has proven infeasible. The following outlines what is and what is not accessible and what you need to know before validating accessibility in SIMnet.
Info: SIMnet was evaluated against the VPAT Version 2.3 (Revised) International Edition. Download the full VPAT below.
SIMnet 365/2019 - VPAT

Can SIMnet still be used in an accessible way?

Yes, SIMnet provides a variety of accessible alternatives to inaccessible components or assignment types. View the
Instructor Guide for details on building an accessible course in SIMnet.

Which components are accessible?

  • Student Portal
  • Student Help PDF available
  • SIMbooks and Lessons
    • Page content
    • Guide Me exercises
    • Let Me Try exercises for Computer Concepts
  • Test Bank Exams
  • SIMnet Exams
    • Simulation based questions for Computer Concepts
  • Graded Projects

Which components are NOT accessible or have not been evaluated?

  • Course Manager (used by Administrators and Instructors)
  • Course Manager Help Website (
  • Course Manager Release Notes Website (
    • An accessible PDF of the help website is available
  • SIMbook and Lesson exercises for Show Me animations
  • SIMbook and Lesson exercises that require the full simulation
    • Let Me Try simulations for Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Windows, File Management, Browsers, and Outlook
  • SIMnet simulated exam questions
    • Simulation based questions for Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Windows, File Management, Browsers, and Outlook
  • SIMpaths
    • These exercises rely on the simulated exam questions for the pre and post tests and the simulated Let Me Try exercises for the lesson component

What do I need to know before testing?

SIMnet has a special color theme for high contrast mode. Be sure to enable this setting prior to testing. To enable high-contrast mode use the student profile link located on the upper-right corner of the interface just after signing in.
Let Me Try simulations and some SIMnet Exam questions cannot be made accessible due to the nature of making a desktop application such as Microsoft Word available in the browser. Desktop accessibility has different standards and capabilities than web-based applications. This can be seen in the differences between the online and desktop interfaces of Microsoft Office. Since we aim to simulate the desktop version of the software, a web-accessible simulation in many cases would fail to properly simulate the desktop interface.
Show Me animations contain the spoken text captions, but do not contain a descriptive narrative for nonsighted users.
The Guide Me exercises have been specially designed to be accessible and are a valid alternative to the Show Me and Let Me Try exercise. The Guide Me exercises assess the same learning outcome as the Let Me Try, but in a more controlled environment.
SIMnet contains some assignment types and content that are not accessible. In each case, an alternative assignment type or combination of assignments can be used to provide learning and assessment of the same outcomes in an accessible way.
The Student Help site is not fully accessible, but we publish an accessible PDF containing the same content. We are continually working with our 3rd party documentation vendor to improve accessibility.
SIMnet makes it easy to seamlessly assign alternate learning objects and grading requirements to students with accessibility needs.

Which tools and screen readers did we test with?

A combination of automated reporting tools were used to evaluate accessibility: Siteimprove Accessibility Checker, Lighthouse Accessibility Audit, Web AIM Evaluation, and the Microsoft Office built-in Accessibility Checker.
The following screen readers were used to test accessibility and user experience: JAWS 2020, NVDA 2019, VoiceOver, and ChromeVox.
In testing, certain screen reader and browser combinations were found to have outstanding bugs, compatibility or standards compliance issues affecting parts of SIMnet. These are noted in the VPAT, including whether or not we were able to provide a workaround.

Which standards did we use to evaluate accessibility?

  • WCAG 2.0, 2.1 A, AA, AAA
  • Section 508
  • EN 301 549 of ICT products and services in Europe v2.1.2
Please view the
Instructor Guide on Accessibility
Please view the
Student Accessibility Guide