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Data table

Design annotations are needed for specific instances shown below, but for the standard data table component, Carbon already incorporates accessibility.

What Carbon provides

Carbon bakes keyboard operation into its components, improving the experience of blind users and others who operate via the keyboard. Carbon incorporates many other accessibility considerations, some of which are described below.

Keyboard interaction

There are three data table variants with different interactions. Optional features like column sorting can appear in any of the variants. Table pagination is treated as a separate component.

sortable table keyboard interaction

For sortable tables, the column headers are reachable by Tab and sortable with Space or Enter.

Controls inside tables

Any interactive controls in data cells are in the tab order and maintain normal keyboard operation. This also applies to expandable table rows, which operate in the same manner as accordions

tab order proceeds sequentially through the table row expansion icons then to a link inside an expanded row

Links, inputs, and other interactive controls inside tables operate by keyboard as normal.

Labeling and updates

If columns are sortable, the sort symbols appear on hover or focus. A sorted column retains an indicator until it is no longer sorted.

The Rule column header has focus and shows a sortable icon, and the Status column header has a 'sorted ascending' icon

Sort indicators appear on hover and focus. A sorted column is indicated visually.

Design recommendations

Since there is no persistent visual indicator that a table is sortable, designers need to annotate if a table should be implemented with sortable column headers.

the header row is annotated 'sortable headers'

Annotate if a table is sortable.

Development considerations

Keep this in mind if you’re modifying Carbon or creating a custom component:

  • Column sorting indicators are matched programmatically using aria-sort
  • See the ARIA authoring practices for more considerations