Data table with TH cell headers Screen reader compatibility

Last updated: September 5, 2016

Expected Result: works in a screen reader

Actual Result: causes problems in 4 screen reader / browser combinations

WCAG Technique: H51: Using table markup to present tabular information

Code used for this test:


        <table>
          <tbody>
            <tr>
              <th>Morning</th>
              <th>Afternoon</th>
            </tr>
            <tr>
              <td>Free</td>
              <td>Busy</td>
            </tr>
          </tbody>
        </table>
    

Change History

Last updated: September 5, 2016

Screen readerBrowserModeNotesWhat the user hears
OK NVDA 2016.2FF48 Reading Speak Table with two rows and two columns, row one, column one, morning. Column two, afternoon. Row two, morning, column one, free. Afternoon, column two, busy.
OK NVDA 2016.2IE11 Reading Speak Table with two rows and two columns, row one, column one, morning. Column two, afternoon. Row two, morning, column one, free. Afternoon, column two, busy.
OK NVDA 2015.2FF41 Reading Speak Table with two rows and two columns, row one, column one, morning. Column two, afternoon. Row two, morning, column one, free. Afternoon, column two, busy.
OK NVDA 2015.2IE11 Reading Speak Table with two rows and two columns, row one, column one, morning. Column two, afternoon. Row two, morning, column one, free. Afternoon, column two, busy.
OK NVDA 2014.1FF31 Reading Speak Table with two rows and two columns, row one, column one, morning. Column two, afternoon. Row two, morning, column one, free. Afternoon, column two, busy.
OK NVDA 2014.1IE11 Reading Speak Table with two rows and two columns, row one, column one, morning. Column two, afternoon. Row two, morning, column one, free. Afternoon, column two, busy.
OK NVDA 2012.1FF31 Reading Speak Table with two rows and two columns, row one, column one, morning. Column two, afternoon. Row two, morning, column one, free. Afternoon, column two, busy.
OK NVDA 2012.1IE11 ReadingNo headers read in IE Speak Table with two rows, row one, column one, morning. Column two, afternoon. Row two, column one, free. Column two, busy.
OK JAWS 17.0.2619FF48 ReadingReads cell headers using Ctrl+Alt+5 Speak Table with two columns and two rows. Morning. Afternoon. Free. Busy.
OK JAWS 17.0.2619IE11 ReadingReads cell headers using Ctrl+Alt+5 Speak Table with two columns and two rows. Morning. Afternoon. Free. Busy.
OK JAWS 16.0.4350FF41 ReadingReads cell headers using Ctrl+Alt+5 Speak Table with two columns and two rows. Morning. Afternoon. Free. Busy.
OK JAWS 16.0.4350IE11 ReadingReads cell headers using Ctrl+Alt+5 Speak Table with two columns and two rows. Morning. Afternoon. Free. Busy.
OK JAWS 15.0.9023FF31 ReadingReads cell headers using Ctrl+Alt+5 Speak Table with two columns and two rows. Morning. Afternoon. Free. Busy.
OK JAWS 15.0.9023IE11 ReadingReads cell headers using Ctrl+Alt+5 Speak Table with two columns and two rows. Morning. Afternoon. Free. Busy.
OK JAWS 14.0.9002FF31 ReadingReads cell headers using Ctrl+Alt+5 Speak Table with two columns and two rows. Morning. Afternoon. Free. Busy.
Fail JAWS 14.0.9002IE11 ReadingWhen reading header rows, the TH for the first column is read along with the TH from the current column (e.g. Morning, afternoon) when Ctrl+Alt+Numpad+5 pressed Speak Table with two columns and two rows. Morning (column one, row one, morning). Afternoon (column two, row one, morning, afternoon). Free (column one, row two, morning, free). Busy (column two, row two, afternoon, busy).
OK JAWS 13.0.852FF31 ReadingReads cell headers using Ctrl+Alt+5 Speak Table with two columns and two rows. Morning. Afternoon. Free. Busy.
OK JAWS 13.0.852IE11 ReadingReads cell headers using Ctrl+Alt+5 Speak Table with two columns and two rows. Morning. Afternoon. Free. Busy.
OK WindowEyes 9.2IE11Table Speak Table, two rows, two columns, morning. Afternoon. Morning, free. Afternoon, busy.
OK WindowEyes 8.4IE11Table Speak Table thirteen, two rows, two columns (table thirteen, one R one C, morning). Morning. Afternoon. Morning, free. Afternoon, busy.
OK VoiceOver OSX 10.11Safari 9.1.2 Reading Speak Table, 2 columns, 2 rows. Morning, column 1 of 2. Afternoon, column 2 of 2. Row 2 of 2, morning, free, column 1 of 2. Afternoon, busy, column 2 of 2.
OK VoiceOver OSX 10.10Safari 9.0.1 Reading Speak Table, 2 columns, 2 rows. Morning, column 1 of 2. Afternoon, column 2 of 2. Row 2 of 2, morning, free, column 1 of 2. Afternoon, busy, column 2 of 2.
OK VoiceOver OSX 10.9Safari 7.0.3 Reading Speak Table, 2 columns, 2 rows. Morning, column 1 of 2. Afternoon, column 2 of 2. Row 2 of 2, morning, free, column 1 of 2.
OK VoiceOver iOS 9.1Safari iOS 9.1 Reading Speak Morning, table start. Afternoon. Morning, free. Afternoon, busy, table end.
OK VoiceOver iOS 8.4Safari iOS 8.4 Reading Speak Morning, table start. Afternoon. Free. Busy, table end.
Fail VoiceOver iOS 7.1Safari iOS 7.1 ReadingWhen reading header rows, the TH for the first column is read along with the TH from the current column (e.g. Morning, afternoon) Speak Morning, table start. Morning, afternoon. Morning, free. Afternoon, busy.
OK Dolphin SR 15.05IE11 ReadingDolphin doesn't read TH headers for TD cells Speak Table two rows, two columns. Morning, column one, row one. Afternoon, column two, row one. Free, column one, row two. Busy, column two, row two.
OK SaToGo 3.4.96.0IE11 ReadingSaToGo doesn't read TH headers for TD cells, but can read corresponding cell in row one via keystroke Speak Entering table, morning. Afternoon. Free. Busy.

SortSite rules: AccWcag1-5.1.1

Test notes

The threshold for inclusion in these results is 5% usage in the most recent WebAIM screen reader survey. Chrome and Android still fall below the 5% threshold.

All tests were carried out with screen reader factory settings. JAWS in particular has a wide variety of settings controlling exactly what gets spoken.

Screen readers allow users to interact in different modes, and can produce very different results in each mode. The modes used in these tests are:

In the «What the user hears» column: