In certain circumstances tables are ideal for displaying data or statistics. For example, information that would be best suited to record or track in a spreadsheet.
But, tables must never be used just to improve the layout of your page and should be used sparingly.
There are more suitable content types that could be used instead, such as:
- People lists/grids for contact lists/pages
- Accordions for FAQs
- A–Z Lists for directories
- Image grid for a selection of photos
- Column blocks for lists of links
These content types are better alternatives, as they have been designed to be more accessible and mobile-friendly.
Using tables do’s
- Do use tables to display data and structure them as best as possible to make them accessible
- Do consider that tables do not always tab correctly, which could cause navigation issues for visual impaired users who may have a screen reader
- Do explore other content types that could be used instead of tables
- Do test your table with a screen reader to check if it could be understood by someone who is visually impaired. Check out our recommended free screen readers on our Accessible content guidance pages.
- Do test your table on a phone or tablet to see if it is still usable.
Using tables don’ts
- Don’t use tables to display information that will be used on different sized screens and browsers, as tables are not always compatible with mobile screens sizes
- Don’t use tables for pages that are likely to be printed as tables do not print well and the layout may be altered
- Don’t use tables to organise the design of your webpages
Look at this example of a table used in the correct format on the college website
If you want to find out more about using tables, read this blog article about tabular data and further tips on using tables