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Re: Use of alt text in document tables


From: Jim Allan
Date: Feb 22, 2016 11:05AM

On Mon, Feb 22, 2016 at 8:25 AM, Jonathan Avila < <EMAIL REMOVED> >

> > Is there any particular reason for adding alt text to data tables? This
> assumes you've identified header rows and other basic formatting. If you
> have a lot of tables, you may include captions and/or bookmarks to identify
> each table.
> My thoughts are that this would be akin to the summary attribute -- which
> is not required and only advised when the structure of the table might
> otherwise be difficult to understand when using a screen reader.
> https://www.w3.org/TR/2015/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20150226/H73
> Jonathan
> ​I agree with Jonathan that it might be useful as a summary, but only if
assistive technology can make use of the information. see below​

> -----Original Message-----
> From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On
> Behalf Of Wyant, Jay (MNIT)
> ​...​
> MS Word's accessibility test throws an error if you don't add alt text,
> but I don't want to make people do things just because Word says so.
Found this interesting.
Did some testing with Jaws and NVDA. created a file with a table. Inserted
a Caption for the table, also opened table properties added Title and
Description on the Alt Text Tab. Neither screen reader read the Caption, or
Title, or Description when navigating into the table.
I agree with Jonathan that it might be useful as a summary, but only if
assistive technology can make use of the information.
If someone knows how to get Jaws or NVDA to read the alt or title on a
table in Word automatically, I would like to know.

Also tested with a document that had many tables. The checker only flagged
one of thirty tables. The flagged table didn't look any different from
other tables in the document. When I inserted a new table it was
immediately flagged as needing alt text. I converted to text a table that
was not originally flagged by the checker. When I converted it back to a
table, it was immediately flagged as needing an alt.

Not very useful feature. Creates a mess for training. Do something about
these errors, but ignore this other error because it is make work, and if
you do make the checker happy the end user derives no benefit.


Jim Allan, Accessibility Coordinator
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1100 W. 45th St., Austin, Texas 78756
voice 512.206.9315 fax: 512.206.9264 http://www.tsbvi.edu/
"We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us." McLuhan, 1964