Re: JAWS and Tables on Web Pages

Steve Griffiths

Hi Brian,


Funnily enough I was looking at a table on a web page yesterday and had similarly odd behaviour from JAWS 18, in that it didn't seem to recognise the row boundaries  as I moved around with Ctrl + Alt + arrows, plus movement from cell to cell didn't match the visible structure. Just for fun I looked at the Smart Navigation setting in Quick Settings. It was off, so I set it to Controls and Tables and the issues went away. I don't understand why, but that's less important! Give it a go if you haven't already.


In terms of the number of rows and columns, I've seen a lot of tables where blanks are added to force the table to look right. Or where a table is the result of some options being selected, and it's easier to keep rows and columns even if they are redundant for some situations. You don't say whether JAWS thinks the extra columns are there when you step through the table, or just when it announces them as you enter the table. And it sounds like you won't be able to tell about the extra rows until you can find a way of reading them accurately.


If it is a table with lots of blank rows or columns, one option you might want to investigate is custom labels (Ctrl + Insert + Tab) which you can assign to an element you've tabbed to. If there is one just before the table, you could give a reminder about the structure of the table each time the client comes to it, so they don't have to memorise it. It's not elegant and may not even be possible for your situation, but I thought it was worth a mention.


Good luck,



From: [] On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: 06 January 2017 02:31
Subject: JAWS and Tables on Web Pages


Hello All,

          I am just now starting to work with a client who's using an application, Power School, that uses tables heavily.  It is a web based application and we're using IE 11 under Windows 7 Pro (64-bit) with JAWS 17.

          I am getting what seems to be very weird behavior with regard to a table we look at that's for a student's "bell schedule" which is, for all practical intents and purposes, their class schedule for any given week.  If we use the T command to gain focus on the table it's announced as having 8 columns and something like 84 rows. The number of visible columns is only six and there are nowhere near to 84 rows.  The thing is visually broken into color squares for each class under each column.  I was thinking I could exploit the jump to cell command to quickly move through the table, but the way JAWS is behaving is as though only the first two rows exist as independent cells.  What's even weirder is that if you get to a specific column JAWS will begin reading down the column as though the whole thing is one large cell, but if you interrupt it you have to go back to the beginning of the table and navigate to the column again before you can get it to read.  I've also heard it read two cells in adjacent columns then jump back to the first of those two cells when I jump directly to only the first, not reading down the entire column like it does if you navigate to the column header just above the first cell jumped to.

           Is this a JAWS bug, some peculiarity in how the table might be coded in HTML that does not match it's visual presentation, or something else entirely.  There just seems to be a complete and utter disconnect between the table's presentation and how JAWS interacts with it.


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