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Outcomes and next steps from Headers thread [H69/H42]

From: Joshue O Connor <joshue.oconnor@cfit.ie>
Date: Thu, 04 Sep 2014 10:49:10 +0100
Message-ID: <54083596.1070303@cfit.ie>
To: WCAG <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Hi all,

In an effort to progress the recent issue discussed on the thread 
'Heading techniques', I'm starting a new thread here. I want to close 
the previous thread *unless* there is some substantive new information 
that the group can use to help us progress.

In order to help us frame the issues and identify some useful actions, 
the chairs have discussed the issue and some (if not all) issues and 
potential actions are outlined below.

Heading Thread ISSUES:

ISSUE 1: Lack of accessibility support in using headers to meet 2.4.1, 
from keyboard only users who are not screen reader users.

Potential action/comment: This is currently largely a user agent issue.

ISSUE 2: If there was no visible heading before the main content for 
instance following the repetitive banner/nav block, then heading 
navigation simply cannot be relied upon for passing SC 2.4.1 and H69 
will not apply.

Potential action/comment: This has to be looked at on a case by case 
basis - there may be other markup patterns applied and WCAG does not 
want to be overly proscriptive.

ISSUE: According to the document Sailesh shared 

SC 2.4.10 (AAA) clarifies that, "heading" is used in its general sense 
and includes titles and other ways to add a heading to different types 
of content. WCAG2 does not define the term "heading" or "section 
heading". We may need to make a clearer distinction with in these 
techniques about what constitutes a heading in the first place?

Potential action/comment: This is something that the working group can 
review. We may need to provide a better definition.

#ISSUES: Can ARIA role="heading" be used as a part of h69?

Potential action/comment: [Josh notes] <chair hat off> Seems like 
overkill – if not needed. But there may be a case where there is a 
preceeding heading over some section of content that could benefit from 
having it’s content marked up a such (using role=heading).

<chair hat on> If someone wants to author a technique and bring it to 
the group - then please do.

#ISSUE: One comment was that H69 goes beyond requirements of SC 2.4.1 
and SC 2.4.10.

Potential action/comment: H69 may be due a rewrite and we encourage 
working group members to improve or enhance existing techniques.

#ISSUE: no WCAG requirement  for AT to be able to navigate by headings 
or display a list of headings on a page.

Potential action/comment:[Josh notes: <chair hat off>]  I don’t think 
this is correct as IMO WCAG doesn’t need to have this as a requirement. 
The ability to be able to navigate content etc by the use of AT is a 
byproduct of their presence within the web page or application. We could 
possibly call this out better as a teachable moment within our 
supporting docs but IMO there is no need it make it any kind of requirement.

<chair hat on>

Some final take away thoughts.

One of the overriding issues here, seems to me, to be with the current 
wording/purpose of H69. Currently headings are mentioned as the main way 
of providing information about the structure of web page content, but 
this may not be the only way for a user to get a sense of what the 
document structure is.

  It was one of the main ways when this technique was actually written 
but now there are other ways of doing this via ARIA or indeed other new 
semantics within HTML5 such as <article> <section> elements and so on.

The current version of H69 states:

The objective of this technique is to use section headings to convey the 
structure of the content. Heading markup can be used:
•    to indicate start of main content
•    to mark up section headings within the main content area
•    to demarcate different navigational sections like top or main 
navigation, left or secondary navigation and footer navigation to mark 
up images of text that are used as headings

The first goal can be achieved using <main> or role=main.
Leaving the second and third items aside, the third item can be 
addressed via <section> elements or suitable ARIA roles. Obviously they 
were not around at the time this technique was written but are now valid 

I therefore urge interested working group members to help update and 
shape this technique so it supports new design patterns and markup 
methods, and then present that to the group.

#ISSUE: Can we update h69 to include 2.4.10?

#We suggested that working group members come up with an alternative 
technique that address 2.4.10 in a minimal way for WG review.

We hope this helps to provide a more cohesive overview and some next steps.

Joshue O Connor/Andrew Kirkpatrick
WCAG working group co-chairs
Received on Thursday, 4 September 2014 09:50:02 UTC

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