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Re: function and impacts (was: @scope and @headers reform)

From: Ben Millard <cerbera@projectcerbera.com>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2008 09:13:39 +0100
Message-ID: <A810F5CD39FC4009B776B0189354B827@ben9xr3up2lv7v>
To: "Gez Lemon" <gez.lemon@gmail.com>, "James Graham" <jg307@cam.ac.uk>, "Ian Hickson" <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: "W3C WAI-XTECH" <wai-xtech@w3.org>, "HTMLWG" <public-html@w3.org>

Ben Millard wrote:
> IIRC, these arrangements do happen outside of my own website. :-)

Ah, such as "Table 6" here:


When moving across the 2nd row of "Table 6" it's probably useful to hear 
when you move from "Fastest" to "Slowest"?

In fact, I'd say it's essential because the header text is the same for the 
columns within those 2 column groups. So you need the main column header 
from row 1 to disambiguate the column headers in row 2.

This is a similar arrangement to the "breadcrumbs" table I sent a little 


With this table, each header in row 2 has unique text. But I imagine it's 
still useful to hear the header from row 1 so you can:

* fully understand what the header is for;
* and detect when you've moved between column groups.

Here's another example, from an e-mail Anne van Kesteren wrote:


Again, when going across row 2 and row 3 it's probably useful to hear when 
you move between column groups.

Much like "Table 6", this uses the same header text in different column 
groups which need the upper header text for disambiguation:

* In row 2 you need the row 1 header text.
* In row 3 you need both the row 2 and row 1 header text.

So, multiple layers of column headers exist and seem fairly natural. What 
about multiple layers of row headers? Well, there's the "Untangle" table I 
sent a little earlier:


When going down the 2nd column, it's probably useful to hear when you move 
from "Test File" to "Corrected" to "Redesign". Am I the only person who 
writes tables like that? Well, I rummaged through the 2007 collection and 
found this:


"Australia", "United Kingdom" and "USA" in the first column have a 2nd 
column of row headers giving smaller regions within them. "United Kingdom" 
and "USA" are next to each other. So if you're moving down the 2nd column of 
"United Kingdom" it's probably useful to hear when you move into "USA".

Interestingly, rowspan is avoided for the header cells. Their tool might not 
support it, or they might not know how to do it. Or maybe it was a design 
choice: the "USA" section covers a large vertical height and the 1st column 
header text scrolls off the top of a normal-sized browser as you move 
downwards visually.

Anyway, hearing the 1st column header as you move down the 2nd column seems 
useful. And it isn't on my website. :-)

The discussion on #whatwg about hearing header cells that are associated 
with the header cell you are currently using non-visually starts about here:


When the header cells are next to each other, to me it seems to vary between 
useful and essential. I haven't retraced my research into cases where 
headers are associated but are not next to each other. I imagine both 
situations should work the same way, for consistency?

Ben 'Cerbera' Millard
Received on Friday, 26 September 2008 08:15:58 UTC

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