I don’t think this is a screen reader question, I think it is a perception question.
I don’t remember where I saw it, but some guidance somewhere said that accessibility means don’t merge cells in tables. I wanted to know if that was outdated or still a good idea.
Here’s an example of a plain table without any merged cells. It is 3 rows and 3 columns. This was composed in Outlook, so it let me specify a header row, but not the headers for each row…
Here’s an example of a table with merged cells. Again, it is 3 rows and 3 columns, but this time the 3 cells in the first column have been merged into one large cell. Again, a header row is specified.
When I tab through, as MS Word says to do, then the merged cell is the first cell for each row. It read as:
Actions Agreed Upon, Who, What
Actions Agreed Upon, Mary, Write a formal letter of praise
Actions Agreed Upon, John, Email all members with the good news
If that is the way people understand it, then I think that would be fine. I just need to know if anyone wants to weigh in on tables and organization and accessibility.