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Re: Two top-level headings?

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2009 11:37:14 -0600
To: Barney Carroll <barney.carroll@gmail.com>
Message-Id: <B69FDAB8-98B3-4EB3-AE36-30F5BB2EC5BF@w3.org>
Cc: site-comments@w3.org

On 28 Nov 2009, at 8:24 AM, Barney Carroll wrote:

> Hello,
> It used to be that the w3 site used a single <h1> on each page, for  
> the document title: on the front page this was the site title, W3C,  
> and on lower level pages this would be the description of that  
> particular document's content, eg, 'XHTML™ 1.1 - Module-based  
> XHTML' ; the proper use of numbered headings has always been  
> contentious, but conventional wisdom has it that one of these two  
> (site title or document title) was the best candidate for any given  
> page - what has always been pretty much unanimous was that there  
> should only be one, and that although the structural application of  
> <h#> tags didn't explicitly reflect this, they should be  
> hierarchical, with one top-level (<h1>) element per page.
> The re-designed pages now use two top-level headings, one for the  
> W3C logo and one for the document's title. Do you have any insight  
> on what the rationale behind this might be?

Hi Barney,

Traditionally I have used one h1 per page. I don't remember a strong  
rationale for using two h1's in the redesign, but when you look at the  
document outline, two sections stand out:

  * Initial navigation areas (which include the left navigation, which  
uses h2 and h3).
  * The body of the page.

Rather than have h2's and h3's precede a unique h1, I believe we  
decided it would be less confusing to introduce the navigation with  
one h1 and the body with another.

I still think that "one h1 per page" is good advice. We've adapted our  
page based on the global structure of the page.

  _ Ian

> Regards,
> Barney Carroll
> barney.carroll@gmail.com
> 07594 506 381

Ian Jacobs (ij@w3.org)    http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs/
Tel:                                      +1 718 260 9447
Received on Monday, 30 November 2009 17:37:25 UTC

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