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Re: Complex table with headings (h3, h4 etc.) to group data rows

From: Sailesh Panchang <spanchang02@yahoo.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2013 20:47:58 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <1381549678.2679.YahooMailBasic@web125004.mail.ne1.yahoo.com>
To: Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
Cc: "w3c-wai-gl@w3.org" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
>> there is nothing in the spec that says that headings (e.g. h2) should be used in this way
Well it says “A heading element briefly describes the topic of the section it introduces” and does not say it should not be used this way else it would be invalid markup. 
I have seen large tables in which row-group headers  are styled so they appear like headings to a sighted user.
Outside a table we flag a violation and require such text to be marked up suitably as h2, h3, etc. 
Not only that, these tables often contain several rows (sometimes more than 10) in every group.
A VI user finds it  easy to determine the groupings or navigate to a section of interest.
And I have seen this markup used in PDF files as well with equal effectiveness.
 With reference to  headings not being valid in HTML5:
This is not entirely correct.
See the table and the note below it on
http://mars.dequecloud.com/demo/Census_2013-html5.htm
Also with regard to use of table summary attribute: Use of deprecated tags, attributes is not a failure of WCAG2, so this is a non-issue for SC 4.1.1.
We just saw a couple of weeks ago that not including an alt attribute on an image  is alright even if it fails validation, if the image is tagged with aria-labelledby. An explicit note to this effect was added to the technique.
So when h-tag is nested as per specifications, there is no reason to fault this table for HTML 4.01 or HTML5. 
Thanks and regards,
Sailesh
 --------------------------------------------
 On Wed, 10/9/13, Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
 wrote:
 
  Subject: Re: Complex table with headings (h3, h4 etc.) to
 group data rows
  To: "Sailesh Panchang" <spanchang02@yahoo.com>
  Cc: "w3c-wai-gl@w3.org"
 <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
  Date: Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 10:05 AM
  
  Hi all, note I don't
  think this use of Hx elements is appropriate (in HTML5) at
  least as a heading implies a new section [1]
  
  
  
  
  [1] http://www.w3.org/html/wg/drafts/html/master/sections.html#headings-and-sections
  
  
  
  --
  
  Regards
  
  SteveF
  HTML
  5.1
  
  
  
  
  
  On 8 October 2013
  18:07, Sailesh Panchang <spanchang02@yahoo.com>
  wrote:
  
  
  Refer to table#2 on this page:
  
  http://mars.dequecloud.com/demo/Census_2013.htm
  
  
  
  Well if one is arrowing down a column # 2or subsequent
  column, the screen reader does announce the group header
  because it is a TH cell./ (this is in response to Josh's
  question during the call).
  
  Use of h<n> tags in a data table is valid code, it
  exposes structure of the grouping within the table, allows
  users to jump to the section of interest and then navigate
  the table and have only row header  to its left and
 column
  headers announced. This reduces verbosity. Yet one can
 press
  JAWS+T and have nearest heading announced ... a technique
  that is accepted for determining context of a link. So one
  can use the same technique to understand  context in
 terms
  of group headers. (Only JAWS  supports H80)
  
  
  
  Also one navigates a page and determines structure by
  multiple methods: landmarks, headings, tables, lists,
 forms
  etc. and not just heading navigation. So if this method is
  used to code complex tables, users will be able to figure
  that out.
  
  
  
  Also a single level of headings (styled as needed)
  should
  be used in the table ... the method may not be appropriate
  if one needs to use more than one level of headings.
  
  It is a non "standard" method that is valid code
  and AT supported.
  
  I believe it is an alternative technique to headers-id
 when
  one chooses not to use headers-id for whatever reason.
  
  
  
  Thanks and regards,
  
  Sailesh Panchang
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
 
Received on Saturday, 12 October 2013 03:48:27 UTC

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