Layout Tables that are No Longer Read as Data Tables Due to ARIA Role

Ideally, according to coding recommendations, tables without any table markup (th, scope, headers, caption, summary) would not be announced by screen readers. These are layout tables. And tables with data table markup (th, scope, headers, caption, summary) would always be announced by screen readers as tables.

However, some screen readers have been designed to guess whether or not a table is a data table based on various algorithms involving the number of cells or the amount of text. This is because for a long time (back in the Middle Ages, before the Renaissance) Web pages were created without accessibility in mind! So, AT manufactures had to do the best they could, considering.

We need to follow the coding conventions, and eventually the AT will provide a standards-compliant mode. However, we also want our accessibility to work well for our users TODAY. To ensure this, we add role="presentation" to any layout tables.

Layout Table with role="presentation"

Because of the number of cells used, Window-Eyes 7.2 considers this to be a data table, even without any data table markup, unless you add role="presentation" to the table tag.

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Issue Solved in both JAWS 11 and Window-Eyes 7.2

This is treated as a layout table. The screen readers don't mention the table at all, but do read the table's contents.
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Configuration Result Summary ARIA Result Notes
JAWS 11 and IE 8 PASS
JAWS 11 and FireFox 3.6 PASS
WindowEyes 7.2 and IE 8 PASS
WindowEye 7.2 and FireFox 3.6 PASS
NVDA 2009.1 and IE 8 N/A NVDA does not exhibit the problem this is intended to solve.
NVDA 2009.1 and FireFox 3.6 N/A NVDA does not exhibit the problem this is intended to solve.