Layout tables must have meaningful sequence

Definition Layout tables must organize content in a meaningful sequence.
Purpose
  • The sequence of the content (i.e. reading order) in a web page affects the conveyed meaning, especially for users of assistive technologies who cannot see the relationships between sections of content as provided by the visual cues in a graphical layout.
  • Using table markup for page layout is one way in which the DOM order of web content can be altered such that it makes sense visually, but the reading order rendered by assistive technologies is no longer meaningful.
Required Yes for HTML4 Legacy Techniques ruleset mapping
WCAG 2.0 Success Criteria

1.3.2 Meaningful Sequence (Level A, Primary Success Criterion)

Rule Category Tables
Scope Page
Target Resources table elements used for layout
  • table
Techniques
  • Use CSS and web standards techniques for the coding of content, and the graphical styling and positioning of content.
  • Avoid using table markup for graphical layout, if you do use tables for layout make sure the content still is meaningful when the table markup is disabled.
  • Avoid using nested tables for layout, the deeper the level of nesting the more chance there of having a confusing sequence of content.
  • Tables that are used for layout should use only tr and td elements, and the table, tr and td elements should have a role="presentation" attribute to clearly indicate the table markup is being used for layout.
Manual Checks
  • Use browser developer tools to disable table markup or enable a user stylesheet to change table cells to be rendered as block level elements.
  • With layout tables disabled, view the content to make sure the reading order and structure of the document makes sense.
Informational Links