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Table summaries

HTML introduced the table Summary as a way to provide an offscreen description that was programmatically associated with the table, for people who are blind. It never really made it outside of the accessibility ghetto and was deprecated in HTML5. Yet the need to understand tables has not gone away. Some people who are born blind have a very hard time conceptualizing tables, and they rely on a text description. Many developers and designers don’t want to provide a description before the table because of the screen real estate it requires. Here are the competitors:

  1. In prose surrounding table with aria-describedby (18 Votes - Winner)
  2. Inside the caption element (3 Votes)
  3. After the figcaption in the figure Element (0 Votes)
  4. Inside the Figcaption element (0 Votes)
  5. “willful violation” of valid HTML5: Using the Table Summary attribute which is dropped from HTML5 (4 Votes)

Here is the code and test results

Feel free to comment on Twitter @davidmacd

Author information:

David MacDonald is a veteran WCAG member, co-editor of Using WAI ARIA in HTML5 and HTML5 Accessibility Task Force Member. Opinions are my own.


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