W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > January 2014

RE: revisiting heading advice

From: Adrian Roselli <Roselli@algonquinstudios.com>
Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2014 18:45:38 +0000
To: Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>, HTMLWG WG <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <0CB063710346B446A5B5DC305BF8EA3E2DFDE952@Ex2010MBX.development.algonquinstudios.com>
> From: Steve Faulkner [mailto:faulkner.steve@gmail.com] 
> Sent: Sunday, January 05, 2014 12:31 PM
> Currently the spec  says its OK to use all h1's in a document or all
> (h6's) for that matter as the heading rank is derived from the nesting
> level of a heading within sections, not from the numerical value in the
> elements name.
> Unfortunately while the above may be true in theory its not true in
> practice.
> The current text in the spec can lead to authors creating  flat document
> outlines: 
> "Sections may contain headings of any rank, and authors are strongly
> encouraged to use headings of the appropriate rank for the section's
> nesting level."
> http://www.w3.org/html/wg/drafts/html/master/sections.html#headings-and-
> sections
> I am thinking that it may be better to have a normative requirement on
> authors:
> "Authors SHOULD use headings of the appropriate rank for the section's
> nesting level."
> what do other people think?

I think that the language in the spec leads to too many authors justifying bad heading nesting/order practice (as opposed to just testing it to see what happens). If anything, the ongoing lack of understanding of how headings should nest is reinforced with the current language. New sites trying to boast about the HTML5-ness are ending up looking like flat savannahs of H1.

While I am a bit of a fan of a "must" requirement (as Roger Johansson suggested on Twitter [1]), keying anything to browser support in the spec is a bad idea given our own varying views on just what "support" means. I think *not* keying language to UA support here is a good idea.

In short, yeah, I think "should" is a better fit.

Also, is it worth any reference to ARIA here? Having seen a recent article suggesting that ARIA roles can be added to any heading structure to support AT (to be fair, I so no mention of *what* roles or *how* to apply them, but my fear is that others might be buying into this misperception), I worry there may still be cavalier disregard for proper structures when it can be punted to the "accessibility team" to resolve.

[1] https://twitter.com/rogerjohansson/status/419886986023796736
Received on Sunday, 5 January 2014 18:46:07 UTC

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