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RE: WCAG violations or accessibility enhancements

From: ALAN SMITH <alands289@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2018 09:11:06 -0500
Message-ID: <5a995b7c.8bcc0d0a.b3b38.5971@mx.google.com>
To: Karlen Communications <info@karlencommunications.com>, 'Mhis-Archiv' <haunschild@mhis.de>, "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
I asked a blind tester about this. Here is her reply.


I use the heading structure probably more than any other function on a web page. I am always disappointed when no headings are defined, especially when there is no skip nav link.
I pay a lot of attention to the levels, probably more so since we test for this. I move through headings with the “h” key, so when I land first on a Level 2 heading,, it makes me wonder if I will find more important info further down the page defined at Level 1. I can see no purpose in skipping heading levels. When it goes from Level 2 to 5, what am I missing at 3 and 4. Will I run across those further down the page.
JAWS can give us a list of headings, which is sometimes very useful but can get cumbersome when the site has a tremendous number of headings.

My preference would be to have the most important info defined at Level 1 and if there are more than 1 important section, have them each at Level 1. 
Under that the next most important should follow in order. 
What would be the purpose of out of order or skipped headings.
Pet Peeve!! Sites that have practically every line defined as a heading.
End of her reply.

We theorize, she experiences.

Alan Smith

From: Karlen Communications
Sent: Friday, March 2, 2018 7:11 AM
To: 'Mhis-Archiv'; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: RE: WCAG violations or accessibility enhancements

I’m new to this list but not to standards committees.

I agree with Bevi and those who are advocating for sequential headings!

I have been teaching and training accessible document design for about 18 years or more. One of the things I stress is the hierarchy of content and the use of sequential headings in documents. Since the headings are a map/structure of the document, as someone who does use a screen reader and someone who does research on the accessibility of PDF documents, headings, navigation and the consistency of a document structure is one of the things that is high on the list of must have’s.

Most document authors use H5 because they like the look of it, not because H5 actually represents the logical reading order or the structure of the document. They either don’t know how to, or are not willing to, modify H2 or whatever level is next sequentially to preserve a logical reading order and document structure.

While a “document fragment” might start with an H2, the headings should be sequential after that.

I’ve heard two arguments for removing sequential headings from standards/requirements:

1. Some standards are looking at changing their focus from “accessibility” to “access”  which leads the way for point 2.
2. “Equal access” means that those of us with disabilities have equal access to poorly designed content, not that we advocate for well-structured documents.

This was one of the expectations when WCAG 1.0  was established. I was doing workshops on WCAG 1.0 compliance and web authors/developers were “shocked” that when made “accessible” there was no rhyme or reason to the structure of their web content.

Because of this revelation, , we began developing the best practices for well-designed and well-structured web content. However, these best practices have not been converted to a standard.

It now appears that we are regressing to “anything goes” in terms of the construction of not only web based content but print-to-digital content as well.

I don’t understand where the “let them eat cake” trend is coming from in the standards committees. I find myself repeating several times a day to clients and workshop participants, “part of accessible document design is DESIGN.” Flinging content on a canvas is not good design.

The use of sequential headings is not difficult, structuring a document is not difficult. For me, the use of sequential headings or nested headings is just good document design that facilitates dependable navigation for those of us with disabilities.

Cheers, Karen 

From: Mhis-Archiv <haunschild@mhis.de> 
Sent: Friday, March 2, 2018 5:26 AM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Re: WCAG vialations or accessibility enhancements

Hi Alan,

especially screenreader users ask for a headline structure, where not h1 is the root of everything, so Leonie Watson for example answered a question about where to use the h1: above the main content, so pushing the key for navigating to the h1 brings her immediately to the article, she came for, when she opened the page.

Heydon Pickering agreed with her, saying this is good usability.

This implicated, that I have to use h2 or h3 as headlines for everything before the main content.

I as a developer disagreed to accept this as good practice, because letting aside the popularity of Leonie Watson, she is just one user and that’s a pretty thin base for a study about what blind people want.

My reasons: screenreader users already have on a good page two shortcuts to the main content: skip links and the very beginning of the document and the main element with it’s implicit role and landmark.

So I disagree with Leonie Watson in this point, but it brings me to the conclusion, that a headline hierarchy which is not nested completely correctly, is not such a big problem, as it might seem.

Especially not if headings with lower hierarchical order follow such with higher like a h5 following a h2.

So I guess that h5 after h2 is not only not violating any success criterion - it also is no big problem in real life. Maybe a usability issue, but for sure it doesn’t make the content inaccessible.

Just my 2 Cent
Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Marc Haunschild

Am 02.03.2018 um 07:33 schrieb Srinivasu Chakravarthula <lists@srinivasu.org>:
In theory, I would agree with you, Katie. But you would certainly know that this doesn't practically work. Even when testers call something as a violation itself, chances are less that they get fixed; but if we tell designers and developers something is a best practice, I sincerely feel that things never get addressed. 

Having wrong structure / semantics should never be a best practice. 


Srinivasu Chakravarthula - Twitter: http://twitter.com/CSrinivasu/
Website: http://www.srinivasu.org | http://serveominclusion.com 

Let's create an inclusive web!

Lead Accessibility Consultant, Informatica

On Fri, Mar 2, 2018 at 3:29 AM, Katie Haritos-Shea <ryladog@gmail.com> wrote:
I think there is a *huge* difference between what we tell testers vs designers/developers.....

For TESTING: WCAG 2.0 should be considered as a 'minimum set' of requirements.

For DEVELOPMENT: The functional requirements should include WCAG 2.0 plus best-practices that we know are successful. Once WCAG 2.1 becomes a Recommendation at the W3C, then organizations could/should begin to include those new success criteria as additional best-practices (until such time their governing body requires it or some other requirements).

* katie * 
Katie Haritos-Shea 
Principal ICT Accessibility Architect 
WCAG/Section 508/ADA/AODA/QA/FinServ/FinTech/Privacy, IAAP CPACC+WAS = CPWA
Cell: 703-371-5545 | ryladog@gmail.com | Oakton, VA | LinkedIn Profile

People may forget exactly what it was that you said or did, 
but people will never forget how you made them feel.......

Our scars remind us of where we have been........they do not have to dictate where we are going.

On Thu, Mar 1, 2018 at 4:10 PM, ALAN SMITH <alands289@gmail.com> wrote:
Well, I’ll be the first to push back on this on behalf of the disabled and not the designer.
I’ve always said we can make are web pages technically accessible by the letter of the guidelines but they may still not be accessible to those who need them to be so.
If you are coding your accessibility for designers, then you can have h1 followed by h5. 
If you are coding your accessibility for blind users, then follow the proper hierarchical order.
You will have a better website and you won’t have to manually review each suggested violation of this out of order heading structure by every automated testing tool which will flag this as a potential violation.
You can always set a font value with class if your designers need a certain “look” for your text on the page.
Think of how you decide to code for accessibility makes a disabled person - and in this case a blind person - feel when they use your site.
Alan Smith
From: Katie Haritos-Shea
Sent: Thursday, March 1, 2018 2:41 PM
To: Rakesh Paladugula
Cc: Ramakrishnan Subramanian; WAI Interest Group
Subject: Re: WCAG vialations or accessibility enhancements
Phill Jenkins is correct concerning the headings. WCAG 2.0 does not specifically require headings be nested.
And yes, this is the right place to post this kind of question on WCAG conformance ....:-)

* katie * 
Katie Haritos-Shea 
Principal ICT Accessibility Architect 
WCAG/Section 508/ADA/AODA/QA/FinServ/FinTech/Privacy, IAAP CPACC+WAS = CPWA
Cell: 703-371-5545 | ryladog@gmail.com | Oakton, VA | LinkedIn Profile

People may forget exactly what it was that you said or did, 
but people will never forget how you made them feel.......

Our scars remind us of where we have been........they do not have to dictate where we are going.
On Fri, Feb 16, 2018 at 7:56 AM, Rakesh Paladugula <prakesh369@gmail.com> wrote:
My thoughts are :

1. Main heading can be a level 2. No harm in it. Having h5 after h2 is a violation as per 1.3.1 info & relationships.
2. I consider having improper text for labels as violation as per 2.4.6 headings and labels. In your second container the label is Apple but the text is of banana.
3. I don’t think it is a violation.

Thanks & Regards

On 14-Feb-2018, at 11:41 AM, Ramakrishnan Subramanian <ram.eict2013@gmail.com> wrote:

Dear Members,
I hope it is appropriate to post this query here.
I kindly request you to help me understand few of the accessibility
related issues mentioned below.
Whether these are treated as accessibility enhancement which would be
helpful for the end user. Or accessibility violation.
Heading order:
Whether the following heading level is considered an accessibility
violation? if yes, which criteria does this violate?
The first heading level in the page is <h2> sample text </h2>
The next heading level is <h5> sample text </h5>

Landmark regions:
When there are different content given inside two different aria
region, with same aria label. Under which criteria this fails?
<div role=”region” aria-label=”apple”>
Apple related content goes here
<div role=”region” aria-label=”apple”>
Bannana related content goes here
3. Links which open in a new window:
When there is no indication for the screen reader users for the link
which opens in a new window, is that considered an accessibility
violation? If yes, which criteria does this issue violate?


Thanks and Regards
Received on Friday, 2 March 2018 14:11:36 UTC

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