What is the Accessible Name of a Table Header?

Various attempts at getting a table header to annouce anything more than its visible text.

Goal: Get screen readers to announce more context in header cells for non-visual users — and do so in a repeatable, consistent way across browser/screen reader combinations.

All headers use scope (which overall we have found to do nothing at all in almost all circumstances):

Testing a Variety of Means for Non-Visual Text in Header Cells
Header One Using Title Header Two Using ARIA-Label Header Three Using Abbr Header Four Using Abbr Tag with Title Header Five Using Abbr Tag with ARIA-Label Header Six Using Visually Hidden Text extra text for column six
row two, column one row two, column two row two, column three row two, column four row two, column five row two, column six
row three, column one row three, column two row three, column three row three, column four row three, column five row three, column six

Screen Reader Testing Results Synopsis

Spoiler alert: Basically nothing you would think works actually works in a consistent way across browsers/AT.

Conclusion with latest tech, as of February 2018: Only relatively safe approach is the kludge of off-screen accessible text (and even it doesn't work fully with VO in iOS). For the future, an aria-label-based approach seems the most likely to gain traction, unless wider support for the abbr attribute in header cells becomes available.