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Re: Data Table Collections (Research)

From: Ben 'Cerbera' Millard <cerbera@projectcerbera.com>
Date: Sat, 29 Sep 2007 15:04:35 +0100
Message-ID: <006401c802a1$acf53380$0201a8c0@ben9xr3up2lv7v>
To: "HTMLWG" <public-html@w3.org>

I've been a busy bee! More collecting, analysing and simulated retrofitting:


Dumping links to tables with a short list of observations is hopefully 
helpful in the [need to categorise] trends and patterns in the way authors 
are building tables. I intend to summarise my observations after analysing 
more tables. Perhaps in time for the [November meeting] in Boston which I'll 

I've taken a snapshot of the Wisconsin University budget tables done some 
simulated retrofits:


It seems they don't strictly need headers+id to express the relationships. 
And their use of headers+id was broken: one bogus value and several empty 
string values. There are notes about this in the main readme, under the 
"Finance" section.

When I say "Make a variant" or "E-mail them" in the main readme, I am 
inviting anyone to do it. You can also suggest observations for the "Not 
written yet" items. You can create your own table collections using whatever 
methodology you like, too. Help spread the workload! :-)

For those who don't avidly track every last article on accessibility, the UK 
Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) Web Access Centre (WAC) 
recently blogged about the user need for indicating table header cells:


The opening sentence is particularly interesting to me:

One of the most common accessibility problems we find when conducting the 
Better Connected survey is the lack of marked up headers in data tables.

This correlates with an [earlier finding] where I noticed most tables don't 
use <th>.

So if we can find ways for UAs to figure out which are the headers in tables 
which aren't using <th>, that might be an instant win for accessibility. 
It's a lot easier if authors use <th> and retrofit legacy content, of 
course. But we can continue [evangalising] better authoring practices whilst 
also giving UAs a headstart.

Feedback is welcome, as ever. But please keep messages in this thread 
on-topic. I'd like to continue using it for these update notices.

[need to categorise] <http://annevankesteren.nl/2007/09/html-tables>
[November meeting] <http://www.w3.org/2007/11/TPAC/overview.html#days>
[earlier finding] 
[evangalising] <http://www.accessifyforum.com/>

Ben 'Cerbera' Millard
Collections of Interesting Data Tables
Received on Saturday, 29 September 2007 14:06:05 UTC

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