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Re: Having h5 after h2 is a violation as per 1.3.1 info & relationships. - was: WCAG violations or accessibility enhancements

From: Pyatt, Elizabeth J <ejp10@psu.edu>
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2018 16:03:43 +0000
To: "Patrick H. Lauke" <redux@splintered.co.uk>
CC: w3c-wai-ig <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <991643F8-2FF8-47AC-8473-1E0E2E0F5398@psu.edu>
Just some comments

1. Although I agree that maintaining proper hierarchical structure is important, the concept is extremely difficult for sighted users to understand.  Two things that can help

a. In Word and other word processors, the idea that heading styles can be used to build an automatic table of contents is very popular among  people who attend accessibility sessions. It’s an application that sighted users can understand.

b. I’ve also used screen captures from screen readers like VoiceOver to show how lists of headings are used in those tools.

Note: You will see that I do have an H2 (generic site links) before an H1 (the actual page title). It’s from an older version of our site, but we do struggle with some ambiguous interpretations of heading structure. However, I would agree that a jump from H2 to H5 is probably due to ill constructed semantics.

2. IMO - it also doesn’t help that in most default settings of the the browser, the font size of H5 and H6 is SMALLER than the body text. I did tend to think of those tags as footers rather than headings until I understood the semantics.  

For sighted users, smaller text does not usually equal “heading”, especially in the main content. It’s not surprising to me that these tags are so misused.

3. BUT if a Web page needs more levels of headings than below H4 in the main content, it may be too long…

My two cents

Elizabeth J. Pyatt, Ph.D.
Accessibility IT Consultant
Teaching and Learning with Technology
Penn State University
ejp10@psu.edu, (814) 865-0805 or (814) 865-2030 (Main Office)

The 300 Building, 112
304 West College Avenue
University Park, PA 16802

Received on Friday, 2 March 2018 16:04:10 UTC

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