The caption element should not contain the same text as the summary attribute

Rule Description

Data table markup can be tedious and confusing. It is important to make sure caption and summary table attributes are not identical. Screen readers have a number of features to make table navigation easier, but tables must be marked up accurately for these features to work properly.

The Algorithm, in Simple Terms

Checks that data tables that have both a summary and caption have the same text for each.

Why this is Important

Screen readers have a specific way of announcing tables. When tables are not properly marked up, this creates the opportunity for confusing or inaccurate screen reader output.

When tables have summary and caption text that is identical, screen reader users can be confused and find it difficult to know the name and purpose of the table.

Compliance Data & Impact

User Impact: Serious
Disabilities Affected:
  • Blindness
  • Deafblindness
Severity: Serious
Issue Type:
  • Deque Best Practice
WCAG Success Criteria:
  • Not applicable
Section 508 Guidelines:
  • Not applicable

How to Fix the Problem

This Rule checks for tables that have identical summary and caption text. To fix the problem, ensure that the content of the summary attribute and the <caption> elements are not identical.

To ensure screen reader users can make sense of tabular data:

  • Use the caption element for onscreen title.
  • Use the summary attribute—only read by screen readers—to describe the table structure.

Related Deque University Course Pages

Related Deque Code Library Examples

Other Related Resources

Additional Information

Relevant Technologies:
  • HTML 4
  • HTML5
Relevant Custom Widget Type(s):
  • Table - Sortable
  • Table - Responsive
Test Reliability: Automated testing is possible, with high accuracy
Rule ID: table-duplicate-name