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RE: HTML Table Markup

From: John M Slatin <john_slatin@austin.utexas.edu>
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 2004 13:05:10 -0500
Message-ID: <C46A1118E0262B47BD5C202DA2490D1A03318192@MAIL02.austin.utexas.edu>
To: "Chris Ridpath" <chris.ridpath@utoronto.ca>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Chris Ridpath wrote:
The concensus reached was that TH elements would be used to determine
type. Data tables must use TH elements. Layout tables cannot use TH

I was aware tof the consensus that <th> should be used in data tables
and must not be used in layout tables.

I was not aware that consensus about using this markup to determine
table type had been reached.

Wouldn't that be problematic? Wouldn't it mean that any table that
included a row of <th> elements would then *by definition* be a "data
table" even if it shouldn't be?

"Good design is accessible design." 
John Slatin, Ph.D.
Director, Accessibility Institute
University of Texas at Austin
FAC 248C
1 University Station G9600
Austin, TX 78712
ph 512-495-4288, f 512-495-4524
email jslatin@mail.utexas.edu
web http://www.utexas.edu/research/accessibility/


-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On
Behalf Of Chris Ridpath
Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2004 9:07 am
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: HTML Table Markup

There's been a lot of discussion lately on the IG list regarding HTML

Phil Jenkins started a thread on using a null summary to indicate the 
difference between layout and data tables[1].

Bruce Bailey started a thread on using the TH element in data tables[2].

Both of these issues, among others, have been discussed at length on the
list and in phone conferences and have led to a series of techniques and
for the accessible markup of tables.

The concensus reached was that TH elements would be used to determine
type. Data tables must use TH elements. Layout tables cannot use TH

The use of summary on layout tables is still under discussion[3] but the

current view is that summary is optional on both layout and data tables.

Caption is optional on data tables and is not permitted on layout

Several other elements, such as tbody, thead and tfoot, are not
permitted in 
layout tables[4].

Other techniques for proper table markup can be found in the techniques 

There are tests for checking proper table markup that can be found in
the HTML 
test suite[5] although these are lagging a bit behind the techniques

The techniques and test suite hope to clarify what the WCAG means to
authors and these documents illustrate current WAI thinking. Please take
look and speak up if you'd like change.


[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ig/2004JulSep/0464.html
[2] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/w3c-wai-ig/2004JulSep/0568.html
Received on Thursday, 9 September 2004 18:05:12 UTC

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