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Re: accessify.com's review of RNIB relaunch

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 10:40:38 -0700
Cc: tina@greytower.net, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To: Matt May <mcmay@w3.org>
Message-Id: <220754F6-A734-11D7-9537-000393D9E692@idyllmtn.com>

On Wednesday, June 25, 2003, at 09:14 AM, Matt May wrote:
> On Wednesday, June 25, 2003, at 07:17  AM, tina@greytower.net wrote:
>>   But DOES it denote a sense of hierarchy, or a sense of importance ?
> Yes, by design.
> The most common problem with designers' use of <h1> to <h6> is their 
> reliance on the visual presentation (that is, the built-in style) of 
> the elements, rather than using the elements structurally and altering 
> their style. In fact, on my personal site, my <h1> is actually smaller 
> than the <h2>s. It's more important to have that structure than to 
> deal with the header elements as presentational.

As long as the different header levels are used reasonably
self-consistently (i.e. all things which are meant to be most
important share the same heading number, be it <h2> or <h1>;
in other words, a RELATIVE scheme is used and used consistently
within the document), what accessibility barriers are
introduced by the practice of skipping <h1> or jumping
from <h2> to <h4>?

It's my contention that as long as the _relationship_ between
the headers is reasonable, the exact _numbers_ employed need
not matter -- you will still be able to construct an appropriate
hierarchical structure of the site even if the document
only uses the even-numbered elements (<h2>, <h4>, <h6>).

> XHTML 2 is introducing a <section> element, so that headers within a 
> given section would "know" which level they are.

This is actually support for my position -- it shows that the
exact numbers used are unimportant, and that what matters is
the relative hierarchy established by the heading tags.  If the
exact numbers mattered -- if <h1> _had_ to be the first tag,
for accessibility's sake -- then the XHTML 2.0 proposal of
<h> tags would be an affront to accessibility.  However, the
truth is that it's a boon to accessibility (as well as

Ergo, the exact numbers do _not_ matter.  And an insistence
on <h1> as the first header (instead of <h2>) is inappropriate.


> --
Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                     http://kynn.com
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain                http://idyllmtn.com
Author, CSS in 24 Hours                       http://cssin24hours.com
Inland Anti-Empire Blog                      http://blog.kynn.com/iae
Shock & Awe Blog                           http://blog.kynn.com/shock
Received on Wednesday, 25 June 2003 16:11:07 UTC

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