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proposed clarification of TABLE caption, title, and summary for the techniques document

From: Wendy A Chisholm <wendy@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000 19:15:10 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
In the list at the beginning of the table section of the WCAG HTML 
Techniques document [1] I propose that we write:

Provide a caption via the CAPTION element.  A table caption describes the 
nature of the table in one to three sentences.  Two examples:
1. "Cups of coffee consumed by each senator."
2. "Who spends the most on pollution cleanup?"
A caption may not always be necessary.

Provide a summary via the "summary" attribute. A summary of the 
relationships among cells is especially important for tables with nested 
headings, cells that span multiple columns or rows, or other relationships 
that may not be obvious from analyzing the structure of the table but that 
may be apparent in a visual rendering of the table.  A summary may also 
describe how the table fits into the context of the current document.  If 
no caption is provided, it is even more critical to provide a summary. Two 
1. "This table charts the number of  cups of coffee consumed by each 
senator,  the type of coffee (decaf or regular),  and whether taken with 
2. "Total required by pollution control standards as of January 1, 
1971.  Commercial category includes stores, insurance companies and 
banks.  The table is divided into two columns.  The left-hand column 
is  'Total investment required in billions of dollars'.  The right--hand 
column is 'Spending' and is divided into three subcolumns.  The first 
subcolumn is titled '1970 actual in millions of dollars', the second is 
'1971 planned in millions of dollars', and the third is 'Percent change, 
1970 versus 1971.'  The rows are industries."  [NBA, 1996].

Provide a few word description of the table with the "title" attribute.

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/WAI-WEBCONTENT-TECHS-19990505/#tables

wendy a chisholm
world wide web consortium
web accessibility initiative
madison, wi usa
tel: +1 608 663 6346
Received on Thursday, 27 January 2000 19:13:21 UTC

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