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Table Mark-up

From: Shan Sasser <sasser.shan@blind.state.ia.us>
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 10:59:44 -0600
Message-Id: <199901131658.LAA19016@www10.w3.org>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Can anyone help me with some questions I have about tables? I am referring to
the information found at the following link:
http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WD-WAI-PAGEAUTH-19990104/wai-pageauth-tech.html#tec
h-table-layout

The guidelines indicate that a table with proper mark up (that is, has
summary,
caption, header attribute, and id attribute) may do the following:

"A speech synthesizer might render this tables as follows:
  Caption: Cups of coffee consumed by each senator
  Summary: This table charts the number of cups of coffee
           consumed by each senator, the type of coffee
          (decaf or regular), and whether taken with sugar.
  Name: T. Sexton, Cups: 10, Type: Espresso, Sugar: No
  Name: J. Dinnen, Cups: 5, Type: Decaf, Sugar: Yes"

However, none of the screen readers that we have encountered reads the sample
table as such. Here at the Iowa Dept. for the Blind we regularly work with the
following screen readers: JAWS For Windows (JFW), Window-Eyes, Window-Bridge,
WinVision, and Hal. We also use both Netscape and Internet Explorer. JFW with
Internet Explorer 4.01 will render this sample table as follows when using the
re-formatting command (Insert-F5).

Cups of coffee consumed by each senator
Name: 
Cups:
Type:
Sugar:
T. Sexton
10
Espresso
No
J. Dinnen
5
Decaf
Yes

*Note: I created a table without using the header and id attributes and
achieved the same results.

Does anyone know of a screen reader / browser combo that reads the sample
table
as indicated in the guidelines?

Are there additional reasons for using caption, summary, header and id in
table
mark-up other than to ensure tables are appropriately translated into linear
sequences, which only JFW/IE 4.01 does with limited success? 

Thanks in advance for your response!

Shan Sasser
Iowa Dept. for the Blind
www.blind.state.ia.us/assist

P.S. The guidelines for table mark-up lists the following as a priority 1.

"If a table is used for layout, do not use any structural markup for the
purpose
of visual formatting. Should this be Pri 1? For example, in HTML do not use
the
table header (TH) element to cause the contents of a cell to be displayed
centered and in bold. Other attributes of a table, such as a caption
describing
the layout purpose and content of columns is valuable, particularly if some
cells become navbars, frames, images, imagemaps, or lists of links."
Received on Wednesday, 13 January 1999 11:58:13 GMT

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