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[12] Use of headings

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Fri, 6 Jun 2003 13:29:39 -0400 (EDT)
To: WAI-GL <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.BSO.4.53.0306061324590.19099@mail.veldt.ca>

The issue is:

Now that [adaptive technology] supports navigation by headers (H2, H3,
etc.), there's an issue about our use of these elements in the document.
Specifically, we use the same words and phrases in multiple places
("Examples (Informative)", "Benefits (Informative)", etc.). This is fine
for visual presentation, but it defeats the navigation strategies now
available, e.g., in JAWS 4.01+ and HPR 3+.

Response:

This is not actually a bug. There is no reason to restrict authors' use of
identical text in headings when identical text is what the author intends.
There is no reason to give preference to one or another adaptive technology
(i.e., Jaws) that can extract, mix, match, and reorder page content. Authors
do not intend for their pages to be randomly extracted from and remixed.
Even in the case of RSS feeds, there is an understanding that a viewer of
the remixed feed is not getting the same relationships and information as
a viewer of the original intact site.

Specifically, the same subtopics may be discussed for a range of topics.
It's an intended use of heading elements.

<h1>Chevrolet Corsica</h1>
  <h2>Safety</h2>
  <h2>Fuel economy</h2>
  <h2>Resale value</h2>
<h1>Fiat Ritmo</h1>
  <h2>Safety</h2>
  <h2>Fuel economy</h2>
  <h2>Resale value</h2>
<h1>Citroen BX</h1>
  <h2>Safety</h2>
  <h2>Fuel economy</h2>
  <h2>Resale value</h2>
<h1>Bentley Arnage</h1>
  <h2>Safety</h2>
  <h2>Fuel economy</h2>
  <h2>Resale value</h2>

A perfectly valid and logical content structure. It is not relevant to WCAG
than a particular adaptive technology can remove and reorder threads from
that sequence. And at any rate, if the adaptive technology is designed well
enough, it will make the hierarchy clear such that <h2>Safety</h2> under
<h1>Bentley Arnage</h1> will be differentiable from other similar constructs.

The same discussion applies to <a> hyperlinks. Link and title text can be
identical on links on the same page if the author so intends. Remix ability
has no bearing on the author's responsibility to otherwise create accessible
pages.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines have no reason to force authors,
even authors of the WCAG itself, to rewrite their content to satisfy the
remix capabilities of a favoured adaptive technology. Certain adaptive
technologies should not be favoured.

References

   3. http://trace.wisc.edu/bugzilla_wcag/show_bug.cgi?id=12
Received on Friday, 6 June 2003 13:33:02 GMT

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