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RE: accessify.com's review of RNIB relaunch

From: John Foliot - WATS.ca <foliot@wats.ca>
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 16:33:11 -0400
To: "Kynn Bartlett" <kynn@idyllmtn.com>, "Matt May" <mcmay@w3.org>
Cc: <tina@greytower.net>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>

Kynn, your reasoning is not totally flawed, but why then not start with
<h7>?  Since we can style away the look of our <h> tags to suit the
particular design considerations of our sites, the "look" is less important
today... very often the reasoning for starting with an <h2> was that the
"<h1> was too big".

The logic would suggest that we start with 1 and progress from there.  While
intellectually (and technically per the specs) there is no real reason to
*not* number our headings H2, H4, H6, does it really make sense?  And while,
as you stated, as long as all headers within a site are relative to each
other, and their cousin pages, there really is no harm caused, what happens
when the user moves on to another document/site?  A consistency between
unrelated sites seems to me to be a laudable goal as well, and everybody
starting with <h1> seems to be a pretty simple starting point, no?

furthering the debate...


> -----Original Message-----
> From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
> Behalf Of Kynn Bartlett
> Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2003 1:41 PM
> To: Matt May
> Cc: tina@greytower.net; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> Subject: Re: accessify.com's review of RNIB relaunch
> On Wednesday, June 25, 2003, at 09:14 AM, Matt May wrote:
> > On Wednesday, June 25, 2003, at 07:17  AM, tina@greytower.net wrote:
> >>   But DOES it denote a sense of hierarchy, or a sense of importance ?
> > Yes, by design.
> >
> > The most common problem with designers' use of <h1> to <h6> is their
> > reliance on the visual presentation (that is, the built-in style) of
> > the elements, rather than using the elements structurally and altering
> > their style. In fact, on my personal site, my <h1> is actually smaller
> > than the <h2>s. It's more important to have that structure than to
> > deal with the header elements as presentational.
> As long as the different header levels are used reasonably
> self-consistently (i.e. all things which are meant to be most
> important share the same heading number, be it <h2> or <h1>;
> in other words, a RELATIVE scheme is used and used consistently
> within the document), what accessibility barriers are
> introduced by the practice of skipping <h1> or jumping
> from <h2> to <h4>?
> It's my contention that as long as the _relationship_ between
> the headers is reasonable, the exact _numbers_ employed need
> not matter -- you will still be able to construct an appropriate
> hierarchical structure of the site even if the document
> only uses the even-numbered elements (<h2>, <h4>, <h6>).
> > XHTML 2 is introducing a <section> element, so that headers within a
> > given section would "know" which level they are.
> This is actually support for my position -- it shows that the
> exact numbers used are unimportant, and that what matters is
> the relative hierarchy established by the heading tags.  If the
> exact numbers mattered -- if <h1> _had_ to be the first tag,
> for accessibility's sake -- then the XHTML 2.0 proposal of
> <h> tags would be an affront to accessibility.  However, the
> truth is that it's a boon to accessibility (as well as
> portability).
> Ergo, the exact numbers do _not_ matter.  And an insistence
> on <h1> as the first header (instead of <h2>) is inappropriate.
> --Kynn
> > --
> Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                     http://kynn.com
> Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain                http://idyllmtn.com
> Author, CSS in 24 Hours                       http://cssin24hours.com
> Inland Anti-Empire Blog                      http://blog.kynn.com/iae
> Shock & Awe Blog                           http://blog.kynn.com/shock
Received on Wednesday, 25 June 2003 16:33:22 UTC

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