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Checking WCAG 2.0 for Structure

From: Vivienne CONWAY <v.conway@ecu.edu.au>
Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2011 10:58:16 +0800
To: "w3c-wai-gl@w3.org" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <8AFA77741B11DB47B24131F1E38227A981EBE0660A@XCHG-MS1.ads.ecu.edu.au>
Hi all

I have recently been doing a comparison of automated tools on a single website home page to compare results.  There is a huge difference between the results, one of which is the analysis of the heading structure and whether this results in a violation.  The webpage I'm looking at is my university's home page: http://www.ecu.edu.au/

The people at SortSite have looked at my question and given me their permission to seek opinions.  They state:

"In the heading issue, it does look like there's an inconsistency in the WCAG techniques:

G141: To facilitate navigation and understanding of overall document structure, authors should use headings that are properly nested (e.g., h1 followed by h2, h2 followed by h2 or h3, h3 followed by h3 or h4, etc.).


H42: Example 2 apparently contradicts this by showing an H2 before an H1 and saying that headings should be used out of order (H42 is even linked to from G141) http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20-TECHS/H42.html

Ultimately, the arbiter of this issue is what actually works for screen reader users. From the looks of key commands in JAWS, it looks like it doesn't matter if heading levels are used in rigid heirarchy as long as stuff of the same importance all at the same heading level:

http://www.freedomscientific.com/doccenter/archives/training/JAWSKeystrokes.htm "

The website in question is using a 3-column layout and about half of the tools find a heading level violation and half do not.  I would be really interested in hearing any opinions as to whether this heading structure is appropriate or violates WCAG 2.0.

Vivienne Conway

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Received on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 02:58:58 UTC

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