Tables may be necessary to display data, but often can be confusing for people who rely on assitistive technology to navigate through the data. Semantic table mark-up is important to allow assistive technologies to translater header and data cells in the proper order.
A simple table is a more accessible table than one that is complex. A simple table is a table that has one header row and one header column where the header column includes the type of information in the column. A simple table does not have merged cells. Screen reader users are able to navigate simple tables linearly by moving from table cell to table cell.
This table is what appears if you just add a table with the Insert/Edit Table Button, but do not add semantic markup. As it the following table is not very helpful to users of assistive technologies, such as screen readers.
The following table is more helpful to all users.
Screen Reader announces: "Table with three columns and seven rows. Favorites Table. Name Column 1, Row 1. Pet Column 2. Color column 3. Name: Jen Column 1, Row 2. Pet: Dog Column 2. Color: Blue Column 3."
For more complex tables (those with more than one column or row heading) or alternatives contact WEB.