Examples of Good and Bad Table Layout for Screen Readers

For help, contact: Karen Sorensen

Good Table

This table is easier to understand when using a screen reader because the column headers are indicated in the html code and the cells are not merged. Adding the word "Week" in column one cells also makes the information flow better when it is read aloud by the screen reader. Using the word "to" in the chapter assignments instead of a dash and spelling out the month in the due date column also make the table more understandable when read by assistive technologies like a screen reader.

Week Assignment Due Date

Week 1

Reading Chapters 1 to 3

January 20

Week 1

Post Introductions to Discussion List

January 20

Week 2

Read Chapters 4 to 6

February 1

Week 3

Read Chapter 7

February 8

Week 3

Paper Due

February 9

Bad Table

This table is more difficult for a blind student to understand because the column headers are not labeled in the html code, and the merged cells confuse the reading order and the use of a dash and month abbreviations is not very clear.

Week Assignment Due Date

1

Reading Chapters 1-3

Jan. 20

Post Introductions to Discussion List

2

Read Chapter 4-6

Feb. 1

3

Read Chapter 7

Feb. 8

Paper Due

Feb. 9

Demonstration

See this video example of a screen reader reading these two tables.