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browser support for heading navigation

From: Christophe Strobbe <christophe.strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be>
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 2011 15:42:43 +0200
Message-Id: <>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

WCAG 2.0 technique H69: "Providing heading elements at the beginning 
of each section of content" is a technique for SC 2.4.1 (Bypass 
blocks). It is listed as a sufficient technique for that success 
criterion. Several screen readers provide keyboard support for 
heading navigation. But how do sighted keyboard users navigate headings?
The section "User Agent and Assistive Technology Support Notes" 
states: "Most screen readers provide navigation via headings and 
provide information about the level of the heading. The Opera browser 
provides a mechanism to navigate by headings. Additional plugins 
support navigation by headings in other user agents."

The list of keyboard shortcuts for Opera 11.10 does not list 
shortcuts for navigating headings : 
<http://help.opera.com/Windows/11.10/en/keyboard.html>. The tutorial 
"Use Opera without a mouse" states that you can use the keys W and S 
to navigate to the previous and next header [sic!] on the page: 
<http://www.opera.com/browser/tutorials/nomouse/>. Unfortunately, 
this tutorial is not referenced by the page with keyboard shortcut 
and the keys don't work if you don't enable them in the preferences 
(the tutorial does not tell you that; see 
for the instructions).

Other browsers, with larger "market shares" than Opera, don't support 
heading navigation.
There are a few extensions for Firefox, but they are either aimed at 
mouse users or outdated.
For example, the HeadingsMap extension creates a nice hierarchical 
list, but after hightlighting a heading in the list pane and tabbing 
to the browser's content pane, the focus will be at the top of the 
page instead of the heading that you highlighted. The add-on does not 
add keyboard shortcuts for navigation to Firefox.
The TitleQ extension adds shortcuts for heading navigation (Crtl+Up 
and Ctrl+Down) but when you start tabbing after selecting a heading, 
you start at the top of the page again, instead of starting at the 
chosen heading. (Unlike HeadingsMap, TitleQ does not highlight the 
headings while you navigate them.)
My last hope for Firefox was Gez Lemon's GreaseMonkey script from 
but I can't install it in the current version of GreaseMonkey (in 
Firefox 3.6.x, for example).

Internet Explorer does not provide shortcuts for heading navigation. 
RNIB's Surf Right toolbar does not provide such shortcuts either: 
(I don't know if the JISC Techdis Toolbar provided shortcuts for 
headings; development of this toolbar has been stopped.)

Google Chrome does not support heading navigation either: 
The extension Chome Keyconfig (a developer tool) does not enable 
heading navigation (it is not in the list of available actions for 
which you can configure keyboard shortcuts).
The extension Keyboardnavigation does not seem to support this 

So which "additional plugins support navigation by headings in other 
user agents"?

Best regards,


H69: <http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20-TECHS/html.html#H69>

Christophe Strobbe
K.U.Leuven - Dept. of Electrical Engineering - SCD
Research Group on Document Architectures
Kasteelpark Arenberg 10 bus 2442
B-3001 Leuven-Heverlee
tel: +32 16 32 85 51
Twitter: @RabelaisA11y
Open source for accessibility: results from the AEGIS project 
Please don't invite me to Facebook, Quechup or other "social 
networks". You may have agreed to their "privacy policy", but I haven't.
Received on Wednesday, 31 August 2011 13:43:41 UTC

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