Tables are an effective way to organize and present content in accessible forms. When used appropriately, a table’s rows and columns provide a predictable and consistent structure for form content.For example, when a user navigates into a body row cell, the screen reader specifies the cell location and then reads the cell content. The screen reader specifies the cell location using a combination of row and column headers or row and column numbers.In addition to providing the location of a cell, screen readers may also specify header information, such as the content of the cell at the top of the column. Because screen readers provide information that orients the user to the location of content in the table, its layout directly affects the table’s accessibility.Tables with simple layouts are recommended. Simple tables begin with a single header row followed by the body rows.
• The tabbing order for a table is geographic order, which is the same as for the form itself. Ensure that the table content is organized such that it makes sense when read from left to right and top to bottom.
• Most screen readers interpret the first row in a table as the header row. When reading the content of a body row cell, these screen readers first read the content of the associated header row cell. Ensure that the content in each header row cell meaningfully describes the column content.
• Avoid cells that span two or more columns, nested tables, or table sections. Screen readers have difficulty interpreting these features correctly or may not use them. For example, if a cell in a body row spans two columns, screen readers may not reference the correct cell content in the header row when reading the next cell in the row.