WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: Use of the scope attribute with TH elements


From: Liko, Todd
Date: Jan 28, 2014 5:17AM

Hi Olaf.

Thank you for your reply.

When you say 'it is almost impossible to interpret this structure in the wrong fashion; scope attributes could not add any information' you are referring to assistive technologies such as screen readers. I realize we should not be coding for assistive technologies, they should be conforming with the standards. I tend to err on the side of caution and given that the scope attribute has defined purpose and does not hinder the reading of a table when used, that is why I have continued to use it.

In addition, as previously noted, most of the information out there, including the revamped WebAim website, still say to use the scope attribute for simple tables.

Once again, I appreciate your reply.


-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Olaf Drümmer
Sent: January 27, 2014 8:22 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Use of the scope attribute with TH elements

Hi Todd
On 27 Jan 2014, at 14:02, "Liko, Todd" < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

> My question is about the use of the scope attribute with the TH elements.

here is my take (which I actually consider supported by HTML 4, HTML 5 and WCAG 2):

- keep simple tables simple; if simple tables either have only one row of column headers in their top row, or one column of row headers in their first column, it is almost impossible to interpret this structure in the wrong fashion; Scope attributes could not add any information; the same would also apply where there are two or even three top levels of header cells at the top or left.

- there is a class of still relatively simple tables, that have headers in the first column and in the first row; some of these have the upper left corner cell unused (i.e. it is not a TH cell), but others do use it as a TH cell, to serve as a header in the horizontal or vertical direction; in that case - and only in that case - the Scope attribute is valuable, as it can indicate what the scope of that TH cell is; as far as I can tell that is the only instance where the Scope attribute can be really useful

- finally there are those tables that are not so simple - they have nested use of TH cells in vertical and horizontal direction, they have TH cells not only at the beginning of the table rows or columns, but rather somewhere in the middle; in almost all such cases the Headers attribute will have to be used, for all cells that have a header cell associated with them, to indicate which header cells to associate with a given cell.

Note: where I am using words like top or left, this is based on tables in the Western writing mode (left to right, top to bottom).