E-mail List Archives

RE: Trying to avoid using tables


From: Jukka Korpela
Date: Aug 28, 2002 4:08AM

Glenda Watson Hyatt wrote:

> I am converting my resume and am trying hard to avoid using
> tables simply for layout.

The material seems to be essentially tabular, so there's little reason to
avoid using a table. According to WCAG 1.0, we should use markup properly,
and that includes using the structural markup that best corresponds to the
logical structure. It's a simple table, but this just implies that there
will be no serious problems even on user agents that don't understand tables
at all: they render the cell contents in succession.

> 1998 - Present Web Accessibility Specialist
> blah blah blah
> 1997-1998 Project Coordinator, Career Mentor Program
> for Students
> with Disabilities

Looks like a normal table to me:
<tr> <th scope="row">1998 - Present</th> <td>Web Accessibility
Specialist</td> </tr>

For accessibility, normal table accessibility methods should be applied. You
might consider adding a <caption> and a <thead> that contains header cells
for the columns. Those elements might not be absolutely necessary, if the
page title and heading specify that the page contains a CV, but it would
surely help especially in speech presentation if the table is preceded by an
explanation that gives sufficient information, including the structure of a
table. The guidelines require a summary attribute too, such as
summary="Curriculum vitae, in time order starting from newest.
First column indicates years, second column describes the occupation."
But I wouldn't _rely_ on a summary attribute. It can be useful to some
people, when supported by the browser, but equivalent information should
precede the data as normal page content, either before the table or within
<caption> and <thead>.

It's a bit debatable whether such a table should have <th scope="row"> in
the first column instead of <td>. But it's probably not very important in

Jukka Korpela
TIEKE Tietoyhteiskunnan kehitt