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Guidance for HTML data table special cases?


From: Meacham, Steve - FSA, Kansas City, MO
Date: Jul 25, 2017 10:35AM

I've provided guidance for two special cases of HTML data tables to my organization. It has not been well received. Here it is, summarized, and I'd appreciate feedback or references to something I can point them too that might be better or more acceptable/accessible.

For data tables that contain no data, such as before being populated, or which lack any matching records: Rather than presenting a single row of column headers followed by nothing else, include one subsequent row, spanning all the columns, with text that indicates why there is no data being displayed, and directing the user forward. Example: "No matching records. Try another query." Another example: "No data has been recorded. Add a record."

For data tables that contain missing data (i.e. there are blank data cells, intermingled with populated data cells): Leave the cells empty or using a non-breaking space. Don't add a hyphen, dot, N/A, or other place holder unless there is a particular business need.

For data tables that are sparse (same as above, but the blank cells become so numerous that finding the data that _is_ there becomes difficult to do non-visually, such as with a screen reader or magnifier): Redesign.

Thank you very much,
Steven Meacham, ICT Accessibility Program Manager
USDA Farm Service Agency
+1 (816) 926-1942<tel:+18169261942>
For program support email <EMAIL REMOVED> <mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> >

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