[Example] Formatting Accessible Tables

This set of examples is used to illustrate common errors when formatting tables in Pressbooks, and how these can be fixed. These examples includes a information developed by The Story of Earth: An Observational Guide by Daniel Hauptvogel & Virginia Sisson. Our thanks to the team at Daniel Hauptvogel, Virginia Sisson, and their team.

Original Tables from “The Story of Earth”

In Table 1.1, the header cells are marked using bold formatting, instead of the scoping attribute. This makes it difficult for screen readers to process this information. Instead, we’ve reformatted the information in Table 1.3 to properly mark the header rows and columns.

Table 1.1 – Comparison of oceanic and continental crust.
Property Oceanic Crust Continental Crust
Thickness 7-10 km 25-80 km
Density 3.0g/cm3 2.7g/cm3
Silica (SiO2) Content 50% 60%
Composition Fe, Mg, and Ca silicates K, Na, and Al silicates
Color Dark Light

In Table 1.2, the merged cells may prove difficult to read by a screen even if properly marked. So instead, reformat the table as shown in Table 1.4 and 1.5

Table 1.2 – Earthquake location data from Chile (from Martinod et al., 2010)
Chile-Peru Border Central Chile
Distance from trench (km) Depth (km) Distance from trench (km) Depth (km)
200 30 170 40
220 50 220 65
300 65 400 90
370 125 200 50
500 190 120 20
300 100 500 110
250 65 350 85
210 40 300 75
280 80 250 60
450 175 280 75
400 140 200 55
410 150 260 90

Reformatted Tables for improved Accessibility

Table 1.3 – Comparison of oceanic and continental crust.
Property Oceanic Crust Continental Crust
Thickness 7-10 km 25-80 km
Density 3.0g/cm3 2.7g/cm3
Silica (SiO2) Content 50% 60%
Composition Fe, Mg, and Ca silicates K, Na, and Al silicates
Color Dark Light
Table 1.4 – Earthquake location data from Chile-Peru Border (from Martinod et al., 2010)
Distance from trench (km) Depth (km)
200 30
220 50
300 65
370 125
500 190
300 100
250 65
210 40
280 80
450 175
400 140
410 150
Table 1.5 – Earthquake location data from Central Chile (from Martinod et al., 2010)
Distance from trench (km) Depth (km)
170 40
220 65
400 90
200 50
120 20
500 110
350 85
300 75
250 60
280 75
200 55
260 90

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The Rebus Guide to Publishing Open Textbooks (So Far) by Apurva Ashok and Zoe Wake Hyde is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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