National Center on Low-Incidence Disabilities logo - select to go to NCLID web site.
Creating Accessible Web Sites Tutorial
 

Main Menu: Tables: Page 1 2 3 4 5 6

Tabula Rosey

. . . or not so rosey, as the case may be with accessibility concerns. Tables are in a sort of no-mans-land of accessibility, an odd sort of space that belongs to neither side of the line. Tables can be perfectly accessible or horribly inaccessible. They tend to be a blind person's online nightmare, but they can be the designer's dream and totally invisible (or inaudible) to the blind user if they are used effectively and sometimes creatively.

The main problem with tables lies in how screen readers read page content. They read in a line from left to right (recall the examples at the very beginning of this tutorial). Most data presented in a tabular format would get chopped to bits if it were read in single lines from left to right (tables are often used to present content that doesn't fit left-right reading so neatly). However, these problems are further complicated by designers who use tables to layout an entire page, not just present tabular data. As in the example you heard at the beginning of this tutorial, content layed out in a table gets chopped to bits, too, by a screen reader. Let's start with the nastiest example of how a table is horribly inaccessible. Give the following table a listen [sound clip of table read by JAWS].

Criterion

Below Expectations

Meets Expectations

Exceeds Expectations

Professional Ethics

Prints tests for purposes other than this course

Prints tests for use in this course only, and purchases copies for professional use.

Reviews tests online only and does not print them for any use.

Familiarization

Does not demonstrate knowledge of tests through references on discussion page and recommendations in case studies.

Demonstrates knowledge of a variety of tests through references on discussion page and recommendations in case studies.

Demonstrates knowledge of most tests through references on discussion page and recommendations in case studies.

Application

Recommends less than 3 appropriate tests based on information contained in case study

Recommends at least 3 appropriate tests based on information contained in case study

Recommends more than 3 appropriate tests based on information contained in case study

Grade Assigned (point value)

<B ( <.30)

B+ (.33)

A (.40)

Audio transcription is also available.

Tables like this one are common on websites, especially in course websites where instructors or professors post rubrics or other assessment methods. Listen specifically for the order in which different blocks of text get read.

Let's look at how you can deal effectively with tables for both content and layout.

Select to go back to Image SlicingSelect to go to Introduction and MenuSelect for to go to page 2
Copyright © 2001 National Center on Low-Incidence Disabilities. All rights reserved.