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RE: heading level order

From: Carla De Winter <carla@accesscapable.com>
Date: Fri, 25 May 2012 21:31:48 +0200
To: "'Stewart, Ian [USA]'" <Stewart_Ian@bah.com>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <!&!AAAAAAAAAAAYAAAAAAAAALSfXlmXwIlNkECplI7sNTTCgAAAEAAAAP+BaoQm05lHihi930wMofgBAAAAAA==@accesscapable.com>
Hi Ian,


Indeed headers are provided for disclosing a document information structure,
similarly to headers in Word or PDF. As you would expect a level 1.1 after a
level 1,  and not a level 1.1.1, it is better to use headers for structure
and not visual style. 


Though a <h4> after a <h2> would not be very damaging for visually impaired
users using a screen reader, or just disabling the author style sheet(s), we
did encounter, for example, the use of headers nested within menu lists in
order to highlight the selected menu item. Or headers which are not even
following the proper nesting. Such a use of headers is indeed very

We would recommend to use other means to style your projects, with elements
that are not involved in information structure.


Kind regards


Van: Stewart, Ian [USA] [mailto:Stewart_Ian@bah.com] 
Verzonden: vrijdag 25 mei 2012 21:12
Aan: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Onderwerp: heading level order




My name's Ian Stewart, I'm a GWT/Drupal developer and new to accessibility,
but I've done extensive research lately in order to make one of my projects
as accessible as possible.


Right now, I'm confronted with an interesting issue regarding heading
levels.  Heading levels, from my point of view, have always been primarily a
visual style cue.  Often an <h4> works better for CSS inheritance reasons
than an <h3>, for no reason other than visual style.


Recently, our accessibility tester approached me with an interesting point.
She suggested that the reader is expecting heading levels to make sense as
if the page is a linearized document, with each depth representing a
consistent level of detail.  What do you all make of this statement?  Does
jumping from an <h2> to an <h4> on a page for stylistic reasons truly lessen
the intuitiveness of the page for a screen reader?  Is subclassing an <h3>
to fit my style needs worth having <h2>s always followed by <h3>s?


Thanks for your thoughts, I found it an interesting question.




Received on Friday, 25 May 2012 19:32:22 UTC

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