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Re: what's the header? was Re: accessify.com's review of RNIB relaunch

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 14:47:04 -0700
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To: Matt May <mcmay@w3.org>
Message-Id: <8F98233D-A756-11D7-9537-000393D9E692@idyllmtn.com>

On Wednesday, June 25, 2003, at 02:32 PM, Matt May wrote:
> On Wednesday, June 25, 2003, at 02:10  PM, Kynn Bartlett wrote:
>> The best searchable content on this page is, I'd argue, _not_ the
>> <h1>, but the one you have marked as <h2> -- the individual
>> title for this archived blog entry.
> (...)
>> So there's a conundrum here.  How exactly do you structure the
>> headings for this page if you require that the most important
>> content be in the <h1>?
> Good question!
> In the archive section of my site, I would (hmm. I guess that's 
> "will", now) make the title of the entry into the <h1>, since it is 
> the only meaningful header in the document, and change the title of 
> the site into a <div>, since it's not as relevant in the rest of the 
> site as it is on the home page.

Except you've just eliminated one level of the information hierarchy
entirely.  That's not a good thing.

As it existed, there is a valid and proper hierarchy of information
within your page.  With your change to a <div>, you've eliminated that
hierarchy and thus lost important metadata.  The fact that this specific
article is part of something else (called <h1>bestkungfu</h1>) has been
lost; "bestkungfu" is now just a generic bit of text.  This is a _bad_
thing, Matt.

The problem is your insistence that the <h1> _must_ represent the most
important content:  no, the <h1> _must_ represent something in the
hierarchy that applies to the entire page, and which includes the
following <h2> (etc) headers.

You were right the first time:  It's your insistence on "most important"
which is incorrect, not your Web page.

> (I would additionally change my <title> to include the name of the 
> site and the content of the heading).

I was avoiding that particular issue, but you also need to look at your
meta tags as well, especially the dc.title meta.

> (To tie the threads together a bit: how can I do this all after the 
> fact? XHTML and XSLT! It sure beats manually editing 150-plus > pages...)

That's one way to do it, but it's not an advantage of XHTML.  There
are plenty of other tools you could use to do the same that don't
rely on XHTML in order avoid manually editing pages.


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 17:41:38 UTC

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