Appropriate use of Tables
Tables can be used to hold data but need to be designed with headers to guide the screen reader user, so that the content makes sense when read aloud.
|George Smith||5, Temple Street||Southampton|
|Ann Jones||10, South Street||Cardiff|
Screen reader reading different table layouts
At one time tables were one of the only ways to offer navigation in a website that was designed into several separate areas. This has changed with the use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and, when used correctly, these provide a better structure that is easier to navigate.
It may interesting to read a blog on the subject "Views from a Screen Reader User".
It is possible to check the code and look out for examples of table elements and attributes e.g. TR, TD, TH and CAPTION or to use the Web Developer toolbar which can show borders around the tables as can teh Webaim Wave online tool (as demonstrated on the Bronx Zoo webpage which has one data table)
The AInspector Sidebar will also provide information about data table headers. However, the best method is to listen to the content of the table with a screen reader such as NVDA for Windows or Voice Over on Mac
This technique may be used to test the following sections of best practice.
|WCAG 2.0||1.3||Create content that can be presented in different ways…||More Info|
|WCAG 2.0||1.3.1||Info and Relationships||More Info|
|WCAG 2.0||1.3.2||Meaningful Sequence||More Info|
|WCAG 2.0||3.2.3||Consistent Navigation||More Info|
WCAG 2.0: Guideline 1.3 Adaptable: Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure. Understanding Guideline 1.3
1.3.1 Info and Relationships: Information, structure, and relationships conveyed through presentation can be programmatically determined or are available in text. (Level A) How to Meet 1.3.1 | Understanding 1.3.1
1.3.2 Meaningful Sequence: When the sequence in which content is presented affects its meaning, a correct reading sequence can be programmatically determined. (Level A) How to Meet 1.3.2 | Understanding 1.3.2
3.2.3 Consistent Navigation: Navigational mechanisms that are repeated on multiple Web pages within a set of Web pages occur in the same relative order each time they are repeated, unless a change is initiated by the user. (Level AA) How to Meet 3.2.3 | Understanding 3.2.3