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Thread: scope - fluff or truly useful in the midterm? Opinions please!


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From: Nathalie Sequeira
Date: Sun, Jun 24 2012 1:55AM
Subject: scope - fluff or truly useful in the midterm? Opinions please!
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Currently the CALS table model, which is largely focussed on visual
presentation, is undergoing a revision in the docBook TC to include
markup for accessibility.
While it is clear that adding a "headers"-attribute for unambiguous
attribution of table header id's to data cells (as in HTML) will be very
useful in complex table markup, I am not so sure about "scope".

AFAIK, scope is not so useful for complex tables given its non-universal
support in UAs - and in simpler markup situations the W3C techniques
actually point to bare th - td structures ( see
which would make "scope" redundant?

So, do you use scope? (or would you like to in a world of 100% UA support?)
Do you know of good examples for its use?

Thanks for your views on this!

P.S. sorry for any cross-postings, as I am asking this questions in
various places ;)

From: Bourne, Sarah (ITD)
Date: Mon, Jun 25 2012 11:49AM
Subject: Re: scope - fluff or truly useful in the midterm? Opinions please!
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Scope is great for simple (data) tables, where there is no more than level of column headers and/or row headers. For instance, a simple table could have a single row of column headers with a column scope, or it could also have a single column of row header with a row scope.

As soon as you add another level of headers, the headers/ID method is the only one that works consistently. These more complex tables could, for instance, have a row of headers such as years, that span the columns in the next row of months in each year.

My recommendation to web authors is to convert complex tables into simple tables whenever possible. That may mean making a series of separate tables, or, in my example above, adding the year to the month header. They can then use the easier scope method. In almost all cases, this ends up making the tables easier to read and comprehend for everybody.


Sarah E. Bourne
Director of Assistive Technology &
Mass.Gov Chief Technology Strategist
Information Technology Division
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
1 Ashburton Pl. rm 1601 Boston MA 02108