Data tables are those tables where the information in a cell requires information from a row and/or column header to adequately describe the cell’s content. (If a table is used for placement of text and objects, then it is a layout table (as described above). Screen readers keep track of their location in a table by counting table cells. If a table is nested within another table or if a cell is merged or split,
the screen reader loses count and can’t provide helpful information about the table after that point. Blank cells in a table could also mislead someone using a screen reader into thinking that there is nothing more in the table.
Important things you need to know about data tables:
1. You must create or insert tables. You cannot make images of tables accessible.
2. Keep data tables simple (use one row of column headers and no merged or split cells).
3. Identify the header row.
4. Place data tables in-line so that assistive technology can access the content.
5. Complex data tables cannot be made accessible in MS Word. If you need to create complex data tables (data tables with more than one header row, one or more header column, and/or merged or split cells), then you must convert the document to an accessible format.