United States Department of Veterans Affairs
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Training for Testing HTML for 508 Compliance

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Testing for §1194.22 (g): Data Table (Headers)

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This module will focus on testing a page to ensure that row and column headers are identified for data tables.

The Section 508 requirement covering this is: § 1194.22 (g) Row and column headers shall be identified for data tables.

The information in the data cells of a table is related to the header information, which is usually found in the cells of the first row and first column of the table. In order to understand the meaning of the information in the data cells, the user needs to know the content of the header cells. Visually, it is possible to simply glance at the row and column header information while reading through the data cells. It's not possible to do that with a screen reader, since it reads the table in a linear fashion, one cell at a time.

When header cells in an HTML table are identified with a <th> tag and data cells are identified with a <td> tag, a screen reader is able to identify header cells and search for them on command. As a user moves from cell to cell in the table, the screen reader is able to announce the row and column headers related to each cell.

Related Checkpoints

Remember, both testers and developers can use the checkpoints for this requirement to be sure the products they are working with will be accessible to users of Assistive Technology (AT).

Use the link above to look at the checkpoints now. You may wish to keep the window open as a reference to use as you complete this module.

Video Overview of this Requirement

To view an approximately three and one-half -minute video with additional information which may be helpful to testers and developers, select the video link below. This same video supports both the Data Tables (Headers) and Data Tables (Mark-up) modules and may be reached from both modules. The video will open in a new window; if you are using a screen reader to take this training, press enter when you hear, "To start, press Play button."

Data Tables Video in new window

Select Next for an Example.

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