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RE: Heading structure with 1.3.1 Info and Relationships and 2.4.1 Bypass Block

From: <alands289@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 3 Jan 2017 12:31:24 -0500
Message-ID: <586bdfeb.0ba4370a.66549.7ac9@mx.google.com>
To: "McSorley, Jan" <jan.mcsorley@pearson.com>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
I agree.

My experience is that designers rely upon the styles of the heading tags for any text they feel needs a certain look and style without regard to the impact of having headings <h1-6> tags assigned to them. 

The result is heading tagged text that are not headings in their function.

The heading structure is important to non-visual users and should be used only for structural purposes in proper sequential and hierarchical order.

Alan Smith

From: McSorley, Jan
Sent: Tuesday, January 3, 2017 12:25 PM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: Heading structure with 1.3.1 Info and Relationships and 2.4.1 Bypass Block

With all due respect, I don't agree that skipping headings is "an equal usability issue for everyone." I believe that it is much more time-consuming, and potentially confusing, for a person without sight to determine what is happening with heading structures that skip heading levels than it is for a person with sight.

I believe that heading structure for people who rely on the use of screen reading technology means something more than people who are able to see visual headings.  People who can see the headings, don't rely on them for navigation in the same way people without sight do.  I think that it is unfortunate that consensus could not be met to use best practice with heading structure.  It is certainly a fairness issue in assessment and I believe that it has a much bigger impact on usability than people think it does.

Jan McSorley
VP, Accessibility
Psychometrics and Testing Services

400 Center Ridge Drive, Suite E
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We put a man on the moon in the 1960's ... surely we can make information technology fully accessible to people with disabilities.  It can be done ... it must be done ... it will be done!

On Tue, Jan 3, 2017 at 11:01 AM, Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com> wrote:
1.3.1Info and Relationships: Information, structure, and relationshipsconveyed through presentationcan be programmatically determined or are available in text. (Level A) 

1. I do not believe skipping a heading level is an issue for assistive software users any more than it is for a non-assistive software user.  In other words, it is an equal usability issue for everyone, but not a 1.3.1 success failure. 

2. I agree that headings (H1-H6) should be used structurally as the HTML markup language semantics intended them to be used, but 1.3.1 does not require the use of headings, does not required that headings be used all the time in all content, nor that when heading are used that they be used sequentially, nor that there only be one and only one heading level 1 per page.

3. 1.3.1 doesn't require that presentation include structure, but that if and when it does present structure and relationships through presentation, that the same information is available through mark-up (or available in text). 

If we want to "add" a new success criteria that requires that if and when heading levels are used, that they be used sequentially, but we have to allow for many situations that are consistent with the intent of the HTML specification.  For example:
a. Page that is quoting a part of a page that doesn't include a heading level 1 should be allowed.  In other words starting with a heading level 2 or 3.

b. Heading level 2 can follow a heading 3 or 4 if it is going back up a level.  For example:

c.  Page that doesn't include any heading level 3's, but uses a consistent heading level 4 for all footers across a set of pages should be allowed.  In other words, it is OK to skip a heading level on a page in some situations.  

So, with these examples we can begin to see why the working group could NOT reach consensus to ALWAYS require the use of headings, ALWAYS starting heading level 1 and NEVER skipping a heading level. 
Phill Jenkins
Senior Engineer & Accessibility Executive
IBM Research Accessibility
Received on Tuesday, 3 January 2017 17:31:56 UTC

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