Accessible data table attributes

Even though many screen readers and Web browsers don’t support them yet, I put accessibility attributes in all the data tables I put on sites. (Don’t know how to build an accessible data table? Use the accessible table builder.) The thing that still confuses me about the W3C standard is that it defines two ways to organize table rows and columns behind the scenes. This organization is supposed to help screen readers recite tables in a nonconfusing manner. But if there are two ways to do this, isn’t it a little counterproductive? Isn’t it likely that different tool makers will support one method and fail on the other? Just in case, I mark with both sets of attributes. Anyway, I should pose this question to their accessibility mail list one of these days.

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