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Re: Use of <summary> with tables


From: Elizabeth J. Pyatt
Date: Dec 3, 2015 12:41PM


I second Birkir's comment that if a table needs a SUMMARY separate from the CAPTION, it's probably too complex.

I tend to favor the CAPTION tag because both screen readers and sighted users can take advantage of it. If it needs to be hidden it can be, but adding information about what's in the table is useful for everyone and so is true universal design.

My other cynical reason is that visible content is more likely to be properly maintained by page editors. Aside from items like image ALT text, I try to make sure that all screen reader accommodations are also visible to sighted users. This includes table captions, table headers, H tags/headings, form labels, keyboard focus and so forth (even skip content links). I only use accommodations hidden to sighted users as an absolute last resort.

My two cents

> On Dec 3, 2015, at 2:00 PM, <EMAIL REMOVED> wrote:
> From: "Birkir R. Gunnarsson" < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Use of <summary> with tables
> Date: December 2, 2015 at 3:53:26 PM EST
> To: WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
> Hi
> You mean the summary attribute, not a summary tag, correct?
> <table summary="this table has x columns, y rows etc. etc.">
> ...
> </table>
> Even if no longer allowed under html5, it is allowed by older coding
> standards and is pretty well supported by assistive technologies.
> The problem I have with using the summary attribute is that if a table
> is so complex that it needs a specific summary of how it is laid out,
> you should rethink the table and see if it couldn't be better
> constructed or split up into multiple tables -- better for everybody).
> If it can't be done, sure, you can stil use the summary attribute to
> describe it to a screen reader user.
> You could also use it to give the table an accessible name (though
> <caption> tag is preferred, because it makes the table name visible to
> everyone).
> On 12/2/15, Alan Zaitchik < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
>> I am somewhat confused. I originally thought that since <summary> is
>> obsoleted in HTML5 I should use an alternative, e.g. any of those discussed
>> at http://www.w3.org/WAI/tutorials/tables/caption-summary/. But then I saw a
>> summary of tests reported at http://www.davidmacd.com/test/details.html and
>> it leads me to think that <summary> is still better than the alternatives as
>> far as screen reader users are concerned. (In our application I am concerned
>> with off-screen tables accessed only by screen readers.)
>> Any advice?
>> A
>> >> >> >> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-Elizabeth J. Pyatt, Ph.D.
Instructional Designer
Teaching and Learning with Technology
Penn State University
<EMAIL REMOVED> , (814) 865-0805 or (814) 865-2030 (Main Office)

210 Rider Building (formerly Rider II)
227 W. Beaver Avenue
State College, PA 16801-4819