W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > February 2013

Re: changed advice on use of h1 headings in document outline.

From: Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 22 Feb 2013 11:24:33 +0000
Message-ID: <CA+ri+VnfRZVP+rXPencW8scGx=qt51-CF3PwUDG9Pxze=3iWWw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Heydon Pickering <heydon@heydonworks.com>
Cc: public-html@w3.org
Hi heydon,

Author advice that suggests we should approach importance and structure
> somewhat separately might be optimal.
>
> What do you think?
>

do you have some text/code examples in mind that you think would improve
the advice that is currently in the spec?

If so please share with the class and if we can reach rough consensus on
its inclusion... :-)


regards
Steve

On 15 February 2013 16:10, Heydon Pickering <heydon@heydonworks.com> wrote:

> Hi again, Steve.
>
> Yes, the deployment of headings is certainly a thorny issue, but perhaps
> we can get to the bottom of it!
>
>
> > As the primary practical concern is that the outline produced through
> the use of headings alone is logical right?
>
> Agreed: For backwards compatibility as well as assisted traversal through
> screenreader heading dialogs. However, I would say that a logical use of
> headings does not necessarily mean a top-down methodology starting from a
> singular h1.
>
>
> That is, h(n) followed by h(n+1) is logical if h(n+1) implies a subsection
> belonging to h(n). This is structurally sound logic, regardless of the
> value of "n" or how many occurences there are of it. However, "first to
> appear" does not necessarily mean "most important". Structure is accounted
> for, but not importance.
>
> For example, on the Paciello Group page (view-source:
> http://paciellogroup.com/), the _first_ heading is an <h2>. The reason
> for this - correct me if I'm wrong - is that this <h2> marks up a
> navigation block that is considered _less important_ than the content
> headed by the following <h1>. This makes great sense to me, btw :-)
>
> However, using http://gsnedders.html5.org/outliner/, the outline for this
> looks like...
>
> h2
> h1
>
> ... not...
>
>  h2
> h1
>
> Because the <h2> does not belong to anything, it is considered
> _structurally_ akin to the following <h1>. They are considered to exist on
> the same plain. The only difference - visually through conventional CSS or
> by AT familiarity - is that the h1 can be perceived as more important. It's
> sort of like we started off whispering, then reached a crescendo halfway
> into a speech. Nothing wrong with that.
>
> So far we've established that we can use h(n) to describe importance(n)
> independent of document structure, plus it can even have positive effects
> on accessibility: Users can easily skip any headings that are not <h1> to
> get to the first instance of an <h1>, right?
>
>
> But what about structure? This is important as well.
>
> If we introduce a section like this...
>
> <h2></h2>
>     <section>
>         <h1></h1>
>     </section>
>
> ... we get a structural outcome like this:
>
> h2
>  h1
>
> Now the subsection has a more "important" heading than its parent section,
> but it isn't the importance part that is wrong; its the structure part:
>
> By using a sectioning element to describe a subsection, we've defined a
> relationship of belonging. The main page content now "belongs to" the
> navigation block, which is wrong. It's right not to use a sectioning
> element here because there's no new structural relationship to be defined.
> At the same time, we don't want to reverse the heading levels because their
> prescribed importance will change for the worse _as well as_ implying a
> relationship of belonging. Doubly bad.
>
>
> Taking all of this into consideration, I think there is a case to be made
> that headings and sections have subtly different uses: Headings define
> importance (but _imply_ structure when used in order) while sections define
> structure (but _imply_ importance via their nesting level).
>
> Author advice that suggests we should approach importance and structure
> somewhat separately might be optimal.
>
> What do you think?
>
> Cheers - Heydon
>
Received on Friday, 22 February 2013 11:25:47 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Friday, 22 February 2013 11:25:49 GMT