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Re: Headings and WCAG2 compliance (1.3.1) [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

From: Loretta Guarino Reid <lorettaguarino@google.com>
Date: Thu, 3 May 2012 14:57:50 -0700
Message-ID: <CAHu5OWaqvvsDxawdJy60oQypZe6mJgs_+wdoZfQZQijPwzoM=A@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Miller, Steve MR 1" <steve.miller1@defence.gov.au>
Cc: "public-comments-wcag20@w3.org" <public-comments-wcag20@w3.org>
On Mon, Apr 16, 2012 at 4:52 PM, Miller, Steve MR 1 <
steve.miller1@defence.gov.au> wrote:

> **
>  Could someone please advise whether a page containing two <h1> tags is
> WCAG2 compliant?
> Technically to follow the principles of semantic markup and a hierarchical
> structure, a <H1> tag should not be the child of another <H1> tag.
> Also and probably more important (the subject of many robust discussions)
> - can site navigation elements be marked up as headings?  This seems to
> fail WCAG2 compliance as the navigation heading technically does not belong
> to (is a child of) the Content heading.   Although useful having a list of
> navigation elements available through the headings, if a user is not
> familiar with the site then they are unlikely to differentiate content from
> navigation, or at least find it very confusing.
> Cheers
> Steven Miller
> Web Governance
> Web Information Capability Team
> FOI and Information Management
> Department of Defence
> Campbell Park, Canberra ACT 2600 AUSTRALIA
> 02 6266 4380

Response from the Working Group

WCAG does not require strict hierarchy in headings. Techniques H69
"Providing heading elements at the beginning of each section of content"
and G141 "Organizing a page using headings" encourage the use of headings
in a hierarchical manner, but WCAG 2.0 does not require it. Using two <h1>
headings would not violate any of the success criteria, so WCAG conformance
would not prohibit it.

Success Criterion 1.3.1 requires that if headings are used, they be marked
up as headings. It does not require that headings be used at all, or that
they be used in any particular way. If the author used heading level to
emphasize the importance of a topic, for instance, but did not create
sections hierarchically, the content can still meet WCAG, since equivalent
information is exposed to everyone.

RE Navigation and Headers

We are presuming that you mean that somebody marked up a header as a link.
Is this correct?

If assistive technologies such as screen readers do NOT announce the link
along with the header then this would be a failure of 1.3.1 since
information that was presented visually was not also readable and presented
by AT.

If assistive technologies such as screen readers DO announce it as both a
header and a link then, although it may not be the best design, it would
not fail WCAG 2.0.

For example a header might be used to provide a link to a longer version of
the paragraph under the header. While it might be a better design to
provide a link at the end of the paragraph using the header as a link would
not violate WCAG 2.0.

Current screen readers support this style of markup. The content is
interpreted both as a heading and a link.

Loretta Guarino Reid, WCAG WG Co-Chair
Gregg Vanderheiden, WCAG WG Co-Chair
Michael Cooper, WCAG WG Staff Contact

On behalf of the WCAG Working Group
Received on Thursday, 3 May 2012 21:58:20 UTC

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