Ensures table headers have discernible text

Rule ID: empty-table-header
Ruleset: axe-core 4.3
User Impact: Minor
WCAG: 1.3.1

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Compliance Data & Impact

User Impact


Disabilities Affected

  • Blind
  • Low Vision


  • WCAG 2.1 (A): SHOULD
  • WCAG 2.0 (A): SHOULD

WCAG Success Criteria

  • 1.3.1 Info and Relationships

Section 508 Guidelines

  • Not specified, or not applicable

How to Fix the Problem

Correct markup solutions

Table header elements (those marked with <th> or role="rowheader" or role="columnheader") should have visible text that describes its purpose.

<table><tr><th>Student Name</th></tr></table>

Incorrect markup solutions


<table><tr><th aria-label="Student Name"></th></tr></table>

Why it Matters

Table header elements should have visible text that describes the purpose of the row or column to both sighted users and screen reader users.

Rule Description

Table header elements should have visible text. Ensure that the table header can be used by screen reader users. If the element is not a header, marking it up with a `td` is more appropriate.

The Algorithm (in simple terms)

Checks all table header elements to ensure that they have a visible text.


Refer to the complete list of axe 4.3 rules.

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