Layout tables, with and without the presentation role - Screen Reader Reliability Testing

Nearly all the content of this page is contained within large tables that are used for web page layout. One table is not accessible because it does not have the presentation role. Anther table is accessible since it does have the presentation role.


An inaccessible layout table.


A long time ago, it was commonplace for web page authors to achieve complex web page layouts using tables to control where the content was positioned. This was before the widespread adoption of CSS.

This technique is frowned upon in modern times. However, it is still useful, but only if the table is marked up as a layout table by setting the role attribute to presentation. Failure to set the role attribute to presentation causes various accessibility issues.

This table is used only for layout but it does not have the role attribute set to presentation. Reading this table is not a pleasant experience for screen reader users.

Ad: ARC Toolkit is a useful extension to Chrome’s Developer Tools that helps with accessibility testing. ARC Toolkit is developed by TPGi, a Vispero company.