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Re: heading level order

From: Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Date: Sat, 26 May 2012 02:01:04 +0200
To: "Stewart, Ian [USA]" <Stewart_Ian@bah.com>, "David Best" <davebest@ca.ibm.com>
Cc: "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.wev2b2l1wxe0ny@widsith-3.local>
On Fri, 25 May 2012 21:52:56 +0200, David Best <davebest@ca.ibm.com> wrote:

> Ian, it is recommended that you use a structured Header hierarchy of
> Headers.

> If a screen reader navigates by Headers, and skips from a h2 to a
> h4, they might assume they are missing information that the screen reader
> is not picking up, but web sites rarely follow this principle.

Hmm. Doing it right is a best practise which is reasonably common now. Not  
just screen readers, but all kinds of tools and indexers use the heading  
structure, and it works best when you follow the basic logic and style  
your headers to suit your design aesthetic.

> You can skip Header levels,

(but you shouldn't)

> but you might prefer to use CSS to style your Header structure.

And in fact you should.

> Also, you can use the W3C/WAI ARIA code to make text look like
> Headers to screen readers.

But in general you shouldn't - this is a repair for something that  
normally wasn't a good idea in the first place.

> From:	"Stewart, Ian [USA]" <Stewart_Ian@bah.com>
> 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?

That you have a smart accessibility tester :)

> 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?

And various other tool users.

> Is subclassing an <h3> to fit my style needs worth having <h2>s
> always followed by <h3>s?

Yep. Shouldn't be that hard to do, either (if it is, there might be  
something else wrong)

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

For interest, if you have a spare half hour or so look up what HTML5 says  
about headings - basically it gives you a way to complicate the picture,  
but understanding why people thought that was a good idea is probably  
useful to understanding the answer to this question.



Charles 'chaals' McCathieNevile  Opera Software, Standards Group
     je parle français -- hablo español -- jeg kan noen norsk
http://my.opera.com/chaals       Try Opera: http://www.opera.com
Received on Saturday, 26 May 2012 00:01:48 UTC

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