[whatwg] scope attribute on td

James Graham jg307 at cam.ac.uk
Sat Jan 26 16:14:30 PST 2008

Simon Pieters wrote:
> On Sat, 26 Jan 2008 19:59:29 +0100, Jean-Nicolas Boulay Desjardins 
> <jnbdzjnbdz at gmail.com> wrote:
>> The scope attribute was created to tell a screen reader to read a 
>> table in a
>> certain way...
>> But now it has been remove from the spec.
>> http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/WD-html5-diff-20080122/#absent-attributes
> It is still present for <th>.
> http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/section-tabular.html#the-th 
FWIW the HTML 4 behavior which turns a <td scope="somthing"> into a 
heading from the point of view of the UA is, in principle, useful since 
there are cases (particularly for row headings) where one cell is 
effectively both data and a heading but the formatting should be 
data-like rather than heading like. However I strongly doubt this is 
actually used enough in practice to make it worthwhile; [1] shows very 
few pages using it and a random selection of those I checked seemed to 
be using it unnecessarily or incorrectly. In any case, it is only a 
convenience, one could argue that a purer approach is to mark up 
anything that a UA should regard as a heading as <th> and then change 
the style as required.
> Research and experimental implementation is being done currently with 
> regards to table heading/cell associations in order to come up with an 
> algorithm that makes UAs and ATs work better with the current Web and 
> that hopefully makes it easier for authors to create tables that are 
> accessible out of the box so authors don't have to jump through hoops 
> in order to make their tables usable for people with ATs.
On the subject of which, does anyone have a strong opinion on how 
scope="colgroup" and scope="rowgroup" ought to work? For example, in the 
following table, assuming the header is scope="rowgroup", the direction 
is ltr, and there is only one rowgroup, which cells should it apply to:

| Cell 1 |  Cell 2  | Cell 3 |
| Cell 4 | Header 1 | Cell 5 |
| Cell 6 |  Cell 7  | Cell 8 |

What about cases where the scope is colgroup and the header trails into 
parts of multiple colgroups

|         colgroup 1       |         colgroup 2       |
| Cell 1 | Cell 2 |   Heading 1     | Cell 4 | Cell 5 |
| Cell 6 | Cell 7 | Cell 8 | Cell 9 | Cell 10| Cell 11|

These seem kindof like unimportant edge cases to me, but it seems like 
these scope values are only going to be useful in uncommon situations, 
so I guess someone might have a use case for one behavior over another...


More information about the whatwg mailing list