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Re: Naming and labeling tables in Word


From: Jonathan Metz
Date: May 28, 2014 1:22PM

Well put, Whitney.

Though I disagree with the suggestion to "Forget certifying people. Let's
have certifications for file formats and converters." We have those
certifications already, but all it shows is that some people are able
memorize what to do in certain circumstances for certain programs.

Making Office documents accessible is essentially providing documents with
the understanding that it's purpose should be for users who require
accessibility features of software that is able to edit/use docx/ xlsx/

If you start to focus solely on making documents accessible only for AT,
you run the risk of inadvertently ignoring disabilities that don't
technically require AT, but may benefit from properly implemented
accessibility techniques. My recommendation would be to follow the
suggestion made by Bill Peterson of the DHS, which is to focus on
designing for standards, not for assistive technology (AT).

More reasons to avoid testing for AT:

' AT varies a lot – versions change regularly;
' Coding to a specific AT device is only as good as the version it's coded
' Sophisticated AT devices like JAWS cheat;
' Just because an application works with JAWS does not mean it is 508
' Jaws is an AT device, not a *measure of compliance* with 508 standards.


On 5/28/14, 2:32 PM, "Whitney Quesenbery" < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

>I sometimes (often informally) teach groups how to make Office docs
>The advice seems to come in three groups:
>1. The majority is essentially: Use Word as it was intended to make a
>correctly formatted document. I find myself saying this over and over
>again for structure, styles, lists, columns, headings, etc.
>2. There's a small group of "good practice things to do that are important
>for screen readers and make the document ready for PDF" This includes
>thinks like hyperlinks and tables and setting language.
>3. There's an even smaller set of "things you have to change about how you
>write" which I think just includes adding alt text, checking
>color/contrast, and placing images inline.
>My "sigh" list is:
>1. If everyone did #1 and #2 as a matter of course, it wouldn't take more
>than an inter-office memo to teach the additions for accessibility (#3).
>I've even had companies ask me to teach accessible docs as a way to force
>people to learn good document structure and plain language, since they
>won't show up for those topics.
>2. This stuff is so basic that I don't understand why we can't have
>consistency across the applications. Please. Please. Please.
>Maybe we can stop "innovating" long enough to get simple things right. So
>that the screen readers can finally actually learn to read the file
>formats. And so that the conversions between formats (Office to PDF and
>Office to Web) will work correctly. They are just bugs as far as I can
>Forget certifying people. Let's have certifications for file formats and
>On Wed, May 28, 2014 at 1:06 PM, Jonathan Avila
>< <EMAIL REMOVED> >wrote:
>> > 1. Is there any other screen reader that does make of use of these
>> semantic hooks Word allows?
>> You need to make sure the Defined Bookmarked Tables override verbosity
>> setting in JAWS is set to "off" for the bookmarks to be announced.
>> Jonathan
>> -----Original Message-----
>> [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Bourne, Sarah
>> (ITD)
>> Sent: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 12:39 PM
>> To: WebAIM Discussion List
>> Subject: [WebAIM] Naming and labeling tables in Word
>> We are in the process of designing an introductory course for creating
>> accessible Word documents, based primarily on the great training modules
>> created by the State of Texas
>> (http://gov.texas.gov/disabilities/accessibledocs) and cross-checking
>> the advice from Microsoft and Freedom Scientific. We have run into two
>> situations where the Best Practice advice does not actually seem to do
>> anything for JAWS users: giving a table a name, and identifying headers.
>> Testing was done with Word 2010 and JAWS 15, and verified by a few of
>> most technically proficient JAWS users.
>> Table naming: The are two methods for assigning a name to a table in
>> JAWS. One is using a Word caption, which adds a caption before the
>> The other ("required" by Word's accessibility checker) is to add
>> alternative text. However, neither method seems to actually be used by
>> JAWS. The name isn't read when you enter the table, and it is not used
>> when you call up a list of tables. The list of tables just gives the
>> content of the first row and the table dimensions (e.g., 3 x 3). I have
>> tried using ALT text title, ALT text description, Caption, and every
>> combination of them, but there is no difference in the Table List. If
>> use captions, you can use Word's feature to create a clickable Table of
>> Figures (tables in this case), but there doesn't seem to be a way of
>> viewing them without actually inserting them.
>> Table headers: Using Word table properties, you can identify a row as
>> column headers. Word table styles also allow you to also identify row
>> headers. However, JAWS does not make use of either. You can only get it
>> read headers with the cell contents if you use the proprietary
>> of using Word Bookmarks that start with "Title", "ColumnTitle", or
>> "RowTitle", or if you use JAWS verbosity settings to identify the header
>> rows and/or columns yourself. That method works whether you have used
>> Word features to identify headers or not, by the way.
>> So that makes me wonder why we are asking people to do these extra steps
>> at all.
>> 1. Is there any other screen reader that does make of use of these
>> semantic hooks Word allows?
>> 2. Is it only so it will be tagged properly when you "save as" PDF?
>> 3. Is there some setting we are missing in JAWS?
>> 4. Are aliens from space are messing with our minds and it works for
>> everybody else?
>> Freedom Scientific's help desk was no help. Any insight or experience
>> can share would be appreciated.
>> sb
>> Sarah E. Bourne
>> Director of Assistive Technology
>> Information Technology Division
>> Commonwealth of Massachusetts
>> 1 Ashburton Pl. rm 1601 Boston MA 02108
>> 617-626-4502
>> http://www.mass.gov/itd
>> >> >> messages to <EMAIL REMOVED>
>> >> >> >>