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Re: Table accessibility (was Re: headers attribute)

From: Laura Carlson <laura.lee.carlson@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2007 13:12:36 -0500
Message-ID: <1c8dbcaa0706061112k333113f9j54598ae225215f42@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-html@w3.org


>  A week ago I
> received an email from Ben 'Cerbera' Millard saying that WHATWG was
> considering removing the headers="" attribute for HTML 5 and asking
> "Do you find irregular table to be so rare they are safely ignored?"
> My answer was "No!" And I pointed to a couple of complex tables.
> Ben's response was that those tables could be handled with scope,
> colgroup and rowgroup and he referenced the marked up versions. Ben
> also pointed to an algorithm to associate headings with data cells
> for such complex tables
> [http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/section-
> tabular.html#header-and-data-cell-semantics ].
> Although headers/id markup is relatively complicated it can be
> explained with a couple of examples. The algorithm that Ben
> referenced is incredibly obscure. I can't imagine trying to explain
> that or including it in our Accessibility training! And perhaps most
> importantly, in order to apply the scope/group technique, the table
> must be restructured. You can't just add markup to an existing table
> as you can with headers/id. More often than not, the people adding
> the accessible markup are not the ones who created the table.
> Those people are probably US Federal employees (probably also
> non-technical) because Federal agencies are required by Section 508
> to have accessible web content. When 508 became effective, screen
> readers (for crying out loud they are NOT "speech readers"!) did not
> support headers/id. Now they do. Screen Readers do not support scope
> very well and the rowgroup, colgroup elements, not at all. Before
> they decide to eliminate headers="" I hope they contact Section 508
> Coordinators of US Federal agencies - they are the ones who know
> about complex tables and I suspect they will be very upset if
> headers="" is removed.
> Posted by Jim Thatcher  on Saturday, 2nd June 2007 at 23:25:36

Received on Wednesday, 6 June 2007 18:12:43 UTC

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