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Re: captioning on tables


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Aug 29, 2013 8:05AM

2013-08-29 15:24, Stanzel, Susan - FSA, Kansas City, MO wrote:

> I am trying to add captions to tables to make an application which is
> already in production accessible. It is not coded well. They coded a
> fieldset, legend, and then the table.

I have great difficulties in seeing what that means. Is it a form
containing labels and controls in a table? I don't think such a table
needs a caption (or a summary). There should of course be information
like a heading for the page or the form.

It is not necessary to describe the structure and purpose of every
table. If a table makes perfect sense when read sequentially, rowwise,
an explanation of the structure might disturb rather than help.

> When I added the caption it was
> written to the screen.

That's pretty much how captions should be handled, i.e. captions should
be written so that they are useful to anyone using the page.

> We put a class definition on it so it could be
> hidden with CSS.

That's rather risky. How could you be sure that it is hidden if and only
if it is not needed? (Assuming it's needed at all.)

> I tried to use the summary tag. It was pointed out
> that is deprecated in HTML5.

Technically, it's declared and obsolete in the current HTML5 (but the
debate goes on).

> I wanted to take out the legend, but
> that changed the look of the page.

Now I'm really confused.

> Do any of you know what replaces the summary tag in HTML5? What are
> any other table options I can use?

This is what W3C HTML5 CR says:
"Use one of the techniques for describing tables given in the table
section instead."
which refers to
which describes several alternative techniques. Some of them are rather
unrealistic (e.g., relying on HTML5 novelties).