RE: [techs] Table Summary Tests (111, 112, 113, 114, 203)

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf
Of John M Slatin
Sent: Friday, August 12, 2005 4:37 PM
To: Chris Ridpath; WAI WCAG List
Subject: RE: [techs] Table Summary Tests (111, 112, 113, 114, 203)

Thanks, Chris.

Do we also have tests to determine (a) whether data tables have <caption>
elements and whether the content of the <caption> is identical to the
content of the summary attribute?

In my personal view, there's no need for the summary to have text content if
the <caption> is present and adequately describes the table (as may often
happen for small, simple data tables). And if <caption> and summary are
identical, people using screen readers hear the same content twice.

Roberto Scano:
We need to refer to the W3C Rec. Scope for <caption> element and summary
attribute: caption describe the nature of the table, summary describe the
table structure.

1. <caption> attribute

"When present, the CAPTION element's text should describe the nature of the
table. The CAPTION element is only permitted immediately after the TABLE
start tag. A TABLE element may only contain one CAPTION element.

Visual user agents allow sighted people to quickly grasp the structure of
the table from the headings as well as the caption. A consequence of this is
that captions will often be inadequate as a summary of the purpose and
structure of the table from the perspective of people relying on non-visual
user agents.

Authors should therefore take care to provide additional information
summarizing the purpose and structure of the table using the summary
attribute of the TABLE element. This is especially important for tables
without captions. Examples below illustrate the use of the summary

Visual user agents should avoid clipping any part of the table including the
caption, unless a means is provided to access all parts, e.g., by horizontal
or vertical scrolling. We recommend that the caption text be wrapped to the
same width as the table. (See also the section on recommended layout

2. "summary" attribute

"summary = text [CS] 
This attribute provides a summary of the table's purpose and structure for
user agents rendering to non-visual media such as speech and Braille. "

Hope this helps!
Roberto Scano

Received on Friday, 12 August 2005 15:47:52 UTC