Check the Reading Order of the Layout
For help, contact: Karen Sorensen
Why this is Important
When you design a form, a table or a presentation slide, you have to ensure the information flows logically for assistive technologies (like a screen reader) and that the page is keyboard accessible.
How to Achieve this Accessibility Guideline
Try tabbing through your form. Does it tab in the order you would want the form filled out in? If not, you need to change the tab order.
Fix the form tab order in:
- HTML web forms using the tabindex attribute
- PDF forms using Adobe Acrobat Professional
- MS Word 2011 forms
Some rules about accessible tables:
- Keep tables small. Divide large tables up into multiple small tables.
- Indicate header rows for tables in MS Word, PowerPoint, and web pages.
- Provide ALT text for tables in documents and presentations and a summary attribute for tables on web pages.
- Be careful not to confuse the reading order if you merge or divide cells.
Assistive technologies such as screen readers, read tables from left to right through each row, from the top row to the bottom one. If you have merged or split cells in the table, that could confuse the reading order.
More information on creating accessible tables can be found on the WebAIM website.
It's important in Microsoft PowerPoint and other presentation software to use the PowerPoint provided slide layouts (not the blank one though). These will help ensure a proper reading order of your slides when read with assistive technologies. If you must make your own slide layouts, please use the Slide Master (under the View menu in PowerPoint 2010) to make a new layout and then check its reading order by tabbing through the slide. See this video on how to make a new slide layout and check and change its reading order.