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Re: WCAG 2.4.6 query in relation to headers within frames.

From: Andrew Kirkpatrick <akirkpat@adobe.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2017 17:53:05 +0000
To: Userite <richard@userite.com>, Herin Hentry <herinhentry@gmail.com>, "Sean Murphy (seanmmur)" <seanmmur@cisco.com>
CC: w3c WAI List <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <4E919ACB-7BA2-40F3-97A1-8FA3AFD002C1@adobe.com>
To clarify, WCAG 2.0 does not require that a web page have headings, only that if there are elements on the page that serve as headings that they have the correct semantic structure associated with them.

Related to the number of H1 headings, if a web page has 5 headings and 5 paragraphs, and the headings are all the same weight or level then it wouldn’t be incorrect to make them all H1’s. You could argue that there should be an H1 heading before the first of the 5 headings (which should then be H2’s) but that isn’t required by WCAG 2.0 AA, and this is debatable even for 2.4.10 in AAA. I do agree that doing so would be a best practice for the usability of the content, but it isn’t required for WCAG 2.0 AA.

The iframe question is a hard one, especially since the content in those iframes may not be under the author’s direct control. I would prefer to have the page viewed as a “flattened”version, so the headings from each iframe would fall into the right level in order to make the page overall make the most sense.


Andrew Kirkpatrick
Group Product Manager, Accessibility


From: Userite <richard@userite.com<mailto:richard@userite.com>>
Date: Monday, June 26, 2017 at 12:55
To: Herin Hentry <herinhentry@gmail.com<mailto:herinhentry@gmail.com>>, "Sean Murphy (seanmmur)" <seanmmur@cisco.com<mailto:seanmmur@cisco.com>>
Cc: WAI-IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org<mailto:w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>>
Subject: Re: WCAG 2.4.6 query in relation to headers within frames.
Resent-From: WAI-IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org<mailto:w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>>
Resent-Date: Monday, June 26, 2017 at 12:56

Hi Herin and Sean,

Each HTML document should only have one top level heading (heading 1) in the same way that it only has one title in the head section. The purpose of the top level heading is to tell the user what the *page* is about overall.  As the user arrives at the page (especially blind users) this heading is important because it tells them what the PAGE is about and, if that is not of interest then the user can quickly return to something else without having to waste time searching the page.  If the page contains a series of articles then this top level heading might say “Series of articles about xxx” with each article starting with a level 2 heading.

Headings, and other semantic elements, are vital for assistive technology to understand the page and to present it in a meaningful way to the user.

I am sorry, but headings are mandatory for web pages.

With regard to Sean’s initial enquiry regarding iframes then yes each iframe *might* have a level 1 heading because each iframe loads a different document which may be used elsewhere where a H1 is required. The initial page must also have a top level heading that covers the purpose of the various documents being loaded via the iframes.

HOWEVER please note that frames are terrible for accessibility and need to be used with care. Make sure you use the iframe title attribute. Also do not lock keyboard users inside an iframe !!

Technical Manager

From: Herin Hentry<mailto:herinhentry@gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, June 26, 2017 1:24 PM
To: Sean Murphy (seanmmur)<mailto:seanmmur@cisco.com>
Cc: w3c WAI List<mailto:w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Subject: Re: WCAG 2.4.6 query in relation to headers within frames.

Hi Sean,

My understanding is - Headings are not mandatory requirements for WCAG. If headings are present they should convey the structure of content in the page. WCAG does not prohibit using multiple H1s. I personally do not prefer multiple H1s. But, if any page needs multiple headings, & as long as the Outline of the page clearly conveys the information and relationship, it's not a failure.

If there are multiple articles displayed on the same page and each has it's own heading and importance, multiple H1should be fine.

Also an interesting read I found here

Would like to know others interpretation of 2.4.6 as well.


On Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 4:19 PM, Sean Murphy (seanmmur) <seanmmur@cisco.com<mailto:seanmmur@cisco.com>> wrote:

In relation to 2.4.6, if the page has multiple iFrames. Is the heading order specific to the iFrame or the whole page regardless of the iFrames? For example:

Main page
… some elements …
** Iframe1 ***
Heading 1
*** iframe ends
** Iframe2 ***
Heading 1
*** iframe ends
** Iframe3 ***
Heading 1
*** iframe ends


Sean Murphy
Tel: +61 2 8446 7751<tel:+61%202%208446%207751>

Cisco Systems, Inc.
The Forum 201 Pacific Highway


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