Thursday, July 07, 2005

Web Usability - Accessible Data Tables

Web Usability - Accessible Data Tables. An article showing how you can make tables on a website accessible to users of alternative browing tools (i.e. screen readers). How to use the caption tag for the table title, the summary attribute of the table tag and use of th tags for row/column headers. thead (table header), tbody (table body) and tfoot (table footer) are also covered. More advanced topics are part of this as well, including little known attributes, like the headers attribute on table cells that refers to the ids of th tags that it is related to.

You can make very complex tables that are accessible, but it is far better to keep them simple and accessible (both for the developer in coding, and also for the user). The main issue for developers though is that testing is hard if they do not have any screen reading software and that there are no free tools for testing.

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Carl Grint (CGW3) said...

You can down trial versions of IBM screen reader which runs for the first 30 mins after boot up, so you can check your sites to see how they perform for the visually impaired.

Demo version of IBM speech browser:
Download and install the 30 day trial of HPR Version 3.021:

Sam said...

First link didn't seem to work.

There is a JAWS demo as well, but it is 42MB and the page does not indicate how long it lasts for and limitations.

You still need to buy a product if you want to do proper accessibility testing. JAWS is very expensive too ($1000 + for XP version), so could be out of the budget of some.

Carl Grint (CGW3) said...

image how Blind and Visually impaired people feel, who don't have a choice, but to buy this software.
The pricing is a small % it use to cost, a few years back it was 4 times that price.