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Web Accessibility Principles

Using tables for data


From:

Web Accessibility Principles

with Zoe Gillenwater

Video: Using tables for data

>> Earlier we talked about why we shouldn't use tables for layout, but instead use a layout created with DIVs and controlled by CSS. However, that doesn't mean that we should never use tables at all. They're the appropriate semantic element to use anytime we have data that we need to present. If we didn't use tables to markup data, we would actually be decreasing the accessibility of our pages. Data that has a two way relationship can be considered tabular data. This means that if you place the data in a grid, each block would be related to the blocks above and below it, as well as to each side of it.
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  1. 2m 0s
    1. Welcome
      1m 3s
    2. Using the exercise files
      57s
  2. 33m 15s
    1. What does accessibility mean?
      5m 51s
    2. How does accessibility help your users?
      3m 30s
    3. Experiencing a website via a screen reader
      5m 46s
    4. How does accessibility help you and your clients?
      3m 9s
    5. Overview of Section 508 standards
      5m 51s
    6. Overview of WCAG standards
      6m 4s
    7. Understanding consistency and semantic markup
      3m 4s
  3. 54m 31s
    1. Understanding screen readers and accessibility tools
      6m 12s
    2. Getting accessible browsers
      5m 41s
    3. Customizing Firefox for accessibility testing
      5m 53s
    4. Using custom accessibility toolbars
      5m 28s
    5. Using Fangs and the Color Contrast Analyzer
      5m 30s
    6. Accessibility tools to bookmark
      5m 53s
    7. Using automated accessibility checking tools
      4m 57s
    8. Setting up the JAWS screen reader on Windows
      6m 42s
    9. Using the VoiceOver screen reader on Mac OS X
      5m 52s
    10. Setting Dreamweaver accessibility preferences
      2m 23s
  4. 26m 12s
    1. Avoiding tables for layout
      3m 30s
    2. Using CSS for layout
      2m 40s
    3. Creating a fixed-width layout
      5m 51s
    4. Creating an elastic layout
      3m 51s
    5. Creating a liquid layout
      3m 4s
    6. Customizing a liquid layout
      7m 16s
  5. 1h 6m
    1. Specifying the language
      3m 43s
    2. Setting page titles
      2m 16s
    3. Setting headings and paragraphs
      9m 55s
    4. Styling headings
      9m 56s
    5. Hiding section headings from sighted users
      6m 41s
    6. Styling text for readability
      6m 41s
    7. Ensuring proper color contrast
      6m 36s
    8. Creating text emphasis
      4m 29s
    9. Indicating quotations
      4m 29s
    10. Creating basic lists
      4m 16s
    11. Styling lists
      7m 15s
  6. 1h 15m
    1. Using lists for navigation
      6m 45s
    2. Creating a horizontal navigation bar
      13m 25s
    3. Creating a vertical navigation bar
      11m 44s
    4. Adding skip navigation links
      12m 0s
    5. Hiding skip navigation links
      6m 17s
    6. Proper link text and title attributes
      6m 11s
    7. Opening new windows
      4m 28s
    8. Accessibility limitations of fly-out menus
      6m 30s
    9. Creating an accessible fly-out menu
      8m 38s
  7. 27m 55s
    1. Proper ALT text for navigation images
      4m 57s
    2. Proper ALT text for decorative images
      5m 19s
    3. Adding ALT text to an existing site
      6m 9s
    4. Adding ALT text to image maps
      5m 58s
    5. Describing complex graphics
      5m 32s
  8. 34m 1s
    1. Using tables for data
      3m 0s
    2. Creating header cells
      4m 5s
    3. Adding table captions and summaries
      9m 9s
    4. Styling tables
      5m 19s
    5. Applying header cells to complex tables
      6m 52s
    6. Adding id and headers attributes
      5m 36s
  9. 42m 7s
    1. Understanding form accessibility issues
      3m 7s
    2. Labeling form fields
      6m 9s
    3. Adding fieldsets and legends
      4m 42s
    4. Moving forms out of tables
      3m 44s
    5. Cleaning up a form's appearance
      4m 53s
    6. Aligning labels and fields using CSS
      9m 39s
    7. Indicating required fields
      6m 15s
    8. Dealing with CAPTCHA
      3m 38s
  10. 7m 29s
    1. The Text-Only technique
      3m 21s
    2. The Access Keys technique
      2m 35s
    3. The Tab Index technique
      1m 33s
  11. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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Web Accessibility Principles
6h 10m Appropriate for all Oct 16, 2007

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Accessibility on the web has been an issue for over a decade, and it remains a crucial--but often overlooked--element of web design. Instructor Zoe Gillenwater explains the concept of accessibility as it applies to the web, and describes how it affects the audience. She also covers how to set up accessibility testing, and how to apply accessibility principles to new and existing sites using standards-compliant markup and CSS. Exercise files accompany the tutorials.

Topics include:
  • Understanding Flex programming languages
Subjects:
Web User Experience Accessibility
Author:
Zoe Gillenwater

Using tables for data

>> Earlier we talked about why we shouldn't use tables for layout, but instead use a layout created with DIVs and controlled by CSS. However, that doesn't mean that we should never use tables at all. They're the appropriate semantic element to use anytime we have data that we need to present. If we didn't use tables to markup data, we would actually be decreasing the accessibility of our pages. Data that has a two way relationship can be considered tabular data. This means that if you place the data in a grid, each block would be related to the blocks above and below it, as well as to each side of it.

By using this proper structure of a table, you can make these relationships between pieces of information clear, not just to sighted users, but to screen reader users as well. If you're following along with the exercise files, we have residents.html open in Dreamweaver. It's located in the 07_01 folder of the chapter seven exercise files. This is the same resident's page we were working on before. But if we scroll down the page in design view, you'll see that a table has now been added to the bottom of the page.

In Dreamweaver, the table cells are denoted with a dotted line. This data is perfect for a table because it has the two way relationship that we talked about. All of the number values are related to each other. By themselves, they could be considered a list of rainfall amounts. The items in the first row of the table would also make up a list by themselves of months, so the pieces of data are related across the rows. But there's also relationships up and down between the month and the number. So even with this very simple example, you can see how a table connects related pieces of information.

If we instead used a DIV for each of these table cells and then floated each DIV to the left in order to make rows like we see here, we might get the same visual appearance, but we wouldn't have the connections in HTML that a table structure gives us. When the table is built properly in HTML, a screen reader can read off a heading cell before the data that it labels. Sighted users have the ability to track across a row or a column in the table to line up the values and see visually what pieces of information are related to each other.

But a screen reader user does not have this ability unless that information is in the HTML so that it can be announced. Let's quickly look at the code for this table to get a sense of how these connections are made. Click inside the January cell then click on the code button on the document tool bar. You can see that we are not using standard TD tags here, but instead TH tags. We also have a scope attribute with a value of call. There's also a caption element inside the table.

If we scroll down to see the second row of the table, we'll see the more familiar TD tags. So the changes that you need to make to your HTML are not major, but in the next movie we'll talk about what each of these pieces means and how you can add them to your tables.

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