Friday 05 July 2002

Accessibility tip 14: Use real table headers

As I’d suspected, more work to do on the calendar table (though replacing a slab of table header code, copying a template file to the server, and rebuilding the index page hardly qualifies as “work” where I come from). But using real calendar table headers yields a significant payoff for the blind user:

Adding proper headers to the calendar allows screen reader software to associate the table header (day of the week) with the table data (day of the month), and it reads them together. “Thursday 4, Thursday 11, Friday 12, Saturday 13.”

Mark has tweaked my curiosity about how to make general data tables more accessible so I’ll follow up by reading the references he provides at the end of today’s post.

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Comments

Accessibility of tables gets complex (and interesting!) when working with multi-dimensional data (I just made up that word myself).

Like, the blog calendar; it has days of the week, each day associated to a column. Then you can also have weeknumbers on the side, associating with a row of days. Like this:

<pre>
....sun.mon.tue.wed.thu.fri.sat
w01.......1...2...3...4...5...6
w02...7...8...9..10..11..12..13
w03..14..15..16..17..18..19..20
</pre>

The W3C explains it in their HTML4.01 spec, but it is hard to understand at first glance. But it is such a phenomenal collection of attributes that I would love to see how it outputs under a screen reader.

Posted by Kris on 6 July 2002 (Comment Permalink)

This discussion is now closed. My thanks to everyone who contributed.

© Copyright 2007 Jonathon Delacour