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Thread: Left Column and Heading Level Order

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Number of posts in this thread: 13 (In chronological order)

From: David Ashleydale
Date: Thu, Jul 05 2012 6:04PM
Subject: Left Column and Heading Level Order
No previous message | Next message

Hi,

It occurred to me today that having some content in the left column of a
page and having the main content in the middle column could come into
conflict with ensuring that heading levels appear in correct source code
order. It could lead to having H2s before the H1 in the source code, for
example.

I guess I could put the column with the main content first in source code
order and then just use styles to make it look like there's another column
of stuff on the left, but this would seem to go against having a logical
left-right Tab order.

Is this an argument against having a page layout like this?

Thanks,
David

From: Jared Smith
Date: Thu, Jul 05 2012 9:51PM
Subject: Re: Left Column and Heading Level Order
Previous message | Next message

I've never seen a real strong argument against having <h2>s come
before the <h1>. I see no accessibility or validation reasons why this
would be bad. Certainly this would be preferable to restructuring the
code order so that content does not match the visual presentation
order.

Jared

From: Duff Johnson
Date: Fri, Jul 06 2012 2:19PM
Subject: Re: Left Column and Heading Level Order
Previous message | Next message

This response is not directed at Jared. He and David have simply raised a good and frequently-heard point which I'd like to address.

On Jul 5, 2012, at 11:51 PM, Jared Smith wrote:

> I've never seen a real strong argument against having <h2>s come
> before the <h1>. I see no accessibility or validation reasons why this
> would be bad. Certainly this would be preferable to restructuring the
> code order so that content does not match the visual presentation
> order.


I will leave assessment of the relative "strength" of the argument to the reader, but here it is, in any event...

For the user who wants to know: "what's on this page", encountering H2 before H1 creates an instant quandary: Do I read the first heading(s) encountered (after all, if H2 is OK, why not H3 or H4? Why not 2 H2s and some H3s as well?), or the first H1 heading?

Once the door is open to illogical heading levels the quandary cannot be resolved programmatically. Ergo, the user is stuck reading ALL headings, or else choosing to skip to H1 heedless of the preceding content.

Placing H2 before H1 is effectively an announcement that headings are being used for "importance" or styling rather than organizational purposes. In such cases, heading levels can't really be trusted for little things like "navigation". That's a bad outcome, right?!

[ Notable sidenote: HTML 5 *redefines* headings in HTML to something that's a lot more like the PDF definition. Minimally, HTML 5's definition does not include the idea of "importance" from HTML 4. Hmm. ]

Many users really do leverage headings for navigation (certainly according to WebAIM's latest survey of screen reader users).

For these users, encountering H2 (or H4, why not?) before H1 simply gives them less reason to trust that the heading levels they encounter will usefully represent logical subsections of content. Instead, they conclude that the page's author must be of the sort who thinks that "Our H3 style is the perfect font, size and color to be used for the company's name in an address block in the footer," or some such. Yes, I know, many of us (myself included) labor under various CSS limitations, inline editing restrictions, etc. Ok... but at least we should be able to agree on what right (or wrong) looks like!

When heading levels are used for purposes other than structure, end users are generally consigned to troll through every heading to find content of interest rather than being able to use heading levels to "drill down" to content of interest.

The only salve is that web-pages are usually relatively small bits of content - maybe two or three thousand words. For this reason alone one might grant that heading levels in general are less important in typical HTML settings. It's acceptable, I guess, to force the AT user to grind from heading to heading and to train them not to expect real utility from heading levels.

Well, maybe that's cool in HTML, but it's not a generalizable point. Please do not bring that mentality to PDF! PDF files often contain far, far more content than a single web-page. Most PDFs are *not* riddled with links, especially internal links, and internal links have very low utility to AT users in today's PDF for certain specific technical reasons.

As such, Headings are the only way for AT users to get around PDFs with any alacrity.

I'd like to put the shoe on the other foot: What's the "strong argument" for tolerating illogical structure? Surely it can't be to accommodate a coding convenience? That's not a reason accessibility folks would accept anyplace else: why here?

I'm not asking for argument's sake. I'm genuinely interested to know the background on why rigor in heading levels isn't a "big deal" (historically). Is it because HTML's definition for heading was fuzzy? Maybe various implementations didn't bother with decent utilization of heading levels back in the early days? I'm no HTML guru; someone feel free to help me out here...

Best regards,

Duff Johnson

President, NetCentric US (Creators of CommonLook)
ISO 32000 Intl. Project Co-Leader, US Chair
ISO 14289 US Chair
PDF Association Vice-Chair

Office: +1 617 401 8140
Mobile: +1 617 283 4226
= EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
www.commonlook.com

From: Bryan Garaventa
Date: Fri, Jul 06 2012 3:17PM
Subject: Re: Left Column and Heading Level Order
Previous message | Next message

Speaking personally as a screen reader user, I do find that headings are
very helpful when properly nested to convey structure, especially within
complex pages where hierarchy is important.

There are some occasions when pages include header or right/left navigation
panels where the use of headings are relevant however, and these typically
are positioned in the DOM above the main content of the page, which is
desirable. It would cause confusion to give such headings H1 markup since
this would imply that this is the start of the main content of the page, and
that all side navigation headings are nested within this hierarchy.

So I can see why it would be acceptable to have some higher level headings
above the H1 on the page in such cases as these, where a screen reader user
could simply press 1 to skip past the undesired content and directly
navigate to the main content, after which headings should be nested
properly.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Duff Johnson" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
To: "WebAIM Discussion List" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 1:19 PM
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Left Column and Heading Level Order


> This response is not directed at Jared. He and David have simply raised a
> good and frequently-heard point which I'd like to address.
>
> On Jul 5, 2012, at 11:51 PM, Jared Smith wrote:
>
>> I've never seen a real strong argument against having <h2>s come
>> before the <h1>. I see no accessibility or validation reasons why this
>> would be bad. Certainly this would be preferable to restructuring the
>> code order so that content does not match the visual presentation
>> order.
>
>
> I will leave assessment of the relative "strength" of the argument to the
> reader, but here it is, in any event...
>
> For the user who wants to know: "what's on this page", encountering H2
> before H1 creates an instant quandary: Do I read the first heading(s)
> encountered (after all, if H2 is OK, why not H3 or H4? Why not 2 H2s and
> some H3s as well?), or the first H1 heading?
>
> Once the door is open to illogical heading levels the quandary cannot be
> resolved programmatically. Ergo, the user is stuck reading ALL headings,
> or else choosing to skip to H1 heedless of the preceding content.
>
> Placing H2 before H1 is effectively an announcement that headings are
> being used for "importance" or styling rather than organizational
> purposes. In such cases, heading levels can't really be trusted for little
> things like "navigation". That's a bad outcome, right?!
>
> [ Notable sidenote: HTML 5 *redefines* headings in HTML to something
> that's a lot more like the PDF definition. Minimally, HTML 5's definition
> does not include the idea of "importance" from HTML 4. Hmm. ]
>
> Many users really do leverage headings for navigation (certainly according
> to WebAIM's latest survey of screen reader users).
>
> For these users, encountering H2 (or H4, why not?) before H1 simply gives
> them less reason to trust that the heading levels they encounter will
> usefully represent logical subsections of content. Instead, they conclude
> that the page's author must be of the sort who thinks that "Our H3 style
> is the perfect font, size and color to be used for the company's name in
> an address block in the footer," or some such. Yes, I know, many of us
> (myself included) labor under various CSS limitations, inline editing
> restrictions, etc. Ok... but at least we should be able to agree on what
> right (or wrong) looks like!
>
> When heading levels are used for purposes other than structure, end users
> are generally consigned to troll through every heading to find content of
> interest rather than being able to use heading levels to "drill down" to
> content of interest.
>
> The only salve is that web-pages are usually relatively small bits of
> content - maybe two or three thousand words. For this reason alone one
> might grant that heading levels in general are less important in typical
> HTML settings. It's acceptable, I guess, to force the AT user to grind
> from heading to heading and to train them not to expect real utility from
> heading levels.
>
> Well, maybe that's cool in HTML, but it's not a generalizable point.
> Please do not bring that mentality to PDF! PDF files often contain far,
> far more content than a single web-page. Most PDFs are *not* riddled with
> links, especially internal links, and internal links have very low utility
> to AT users in today's PDF for certain specific technical reasons.
>
> As such, Headings are the only way for AT users to get around PDFs with
> any alacrity.
>
> I'd like to put the shoe on the other foot: What's the "strong argument"
> for tolerating illogical structure? Surely it can't be to accommodate a
> coding convenience? That's not a reason accessibility folks would accept
> anyplace else: why here?
>
> I'm not asking for argument's sake. I'm genuinely interested to know the
> background on why rigor in heading levels isn't a "big deal"
> (historically). Is it because HTML's definition for heading was fuzzy?
> Maybe various implementations didn't bother with decent utilization of
> heading levels back in the early days? I'm no HTML guru; someone feel free
> to help me out here...
>
> Best regards,
>
> Duff Johnson
>
> President, NetCentric US (Creators of CommonLook)
> ISO 32000 Intl. Project Co-Leader, US Chair
> ISO 14289 US Chair
> PDF Association Vice-Chair
>
> Office: +1 617 401 8140
> Mobile: +1 617 283 4226
> = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> www.commonlook.com
>
> > >

From: lgreco@berkeley.edu
Date: Fri, Jul 06 2012 3:18PM
Subject: Re: Left Column and Heading Level Order
Previous message | Next message

hello:
i agree that having a h2 show up before an h1 sends the rong message. the
only thing as a user i find more frustrating is not having the 1 at all.
and if its ok to have the 2 first i think you are not far off from saying
its ok to not have a h1 at all.

> This response is not directed at Jared. He and David have simply raised a
> good and frequently-heard point which I'd like to address.
>
> On Jul 5, 2012, at 11:51 PM, Jared Smith wrote:
>
>> I've never seen a real strong argument against having <h2>s come
>> before the <h1>. I see no accessibility or validation reasons why this
>> would be bad. Certainly this would be preferable to restructuring the
>> code order so that content does not match the visual presentation
>> order.
>
>
> I will leave assessment of the relative "strength" of the argument to the
> reader, but here it is, in any event...
>
> For the user who wants to know: "what's on this page", encountering H2
> before H1 creates an instant quandary: Do I read the first heading(s)
> encountered (after all, if H2 is OK, why not H3 or H4? Why not 2 H2s and
> some H3s as well?), or the first H1 heading?
>
> Once the door is open to illogical heading levels the quandary cannot be
> resolved programmatically. Ergo, the user is stuck reading ALL headings,
> or else choosing to skip to H1 heedless of the preceding content.
>
> Placing H2 before H1 is effectively an announcement that headings are
> being used for "importance" or styling rather than organizational
> purposes. In such cases, heading levels can't really be trusted for little
> things like "navigation". That's a bad outcome, right?!
>
> [ Notable sidenote: HTML 5 *redefines* headings in HTML to something
> that's a lot more like the PDF definition. Minimally, HTML 5's definition
> does not include the idea of "importance" from HTML 4. Hmm. ]
>
> Many users really do leverage headings for navigation (certainly according
> to WebAIM's latest survey of screen reader users).
>
> For these users, encountering H2 (or H4, why not?) before H1 simply gives
> them less reason to trust that the heading levels they encounter will
> usefully represent logical subsections of content. Instead, they conclude
> that the page's author must be of the sort who thinks that "Our H3 style
> is the perfect font, size and color to be used for the company's name in
> an address block in the footer," or some such. Yes, I know, many of us
> (myself included) labor under various CSS limitations, inline editing
> restrictions, etc. Ok... but at least we should be able to agree on what
> right (or wrong) looks like!
>
> When heading levels are used for purposes other than structure, end users
> are generally consigned to troll through every heading to find content of
> interest rather than being able to use heading levels to "drill down" to
> content of interest.
>
> The only salve is that web-pages are usually relatively small bits of
> content - maybe two or three thousand words. For this reason alone one
> might grant that heading levels in general are less important in typical
> HTML settings. It's acceptable, I guess, to force the AT user to grind
> from heading to heading and to train them not to expect real utility from
> heading levels.
>
> Well, maybe that's cool in HTML, but it's not a generalizable point.
> Please do not bring that mentality to PDF! PDF files often contain far,
> far more content than a single web-page. Most PDFs are *not* riddled with
> links, especially internal links, and internal links have very low utility
> to AT users in today's PDF for certain specific technical reasons.
>
> As such, Headings are the only way for AT users to get around PDFs with
> any alacrity.
>
> I'd like to put the shoe on the other foot: What's the "strong argument"
> for tolerating illogical structure? Surely it can't be to accommodate a
> coding convenience? That's not a reason accessibility folks would accept
> anyplace else: why here?
>
> I'm not asking for argument's sake. I'm genuinely interested to know the
> background on why rigor in heading levels isn't a "big deal"
> (historically). Is it because HTML's definition for heading was fuzzy?
> Maybe various implementations didn't bother with decent utilization of
> heading levels back in the early days? I'm no HTML guru; someone feel free
> to help me out here...
>
> Best regards,
>
> Duff Johnson
>
> President, NetCentric US (Creators of CommonLook)
> ISO 32000 Intl. Project Co-Leader, US Chair
> ISO 14289 US Chair
> PDF Association Vice-Chair
>
> Office: +1 617 401 8140
> Mobile: +1 617 283 4226
> = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> www.commonlook.com
>
> > > >

From: James Nurthen
Date: Fri, Jul 06 2012 3:25PM
Subject: Re: Left Column and Heading Level Order
Previous message | Next message

WCAG2 H42 has example 2 which covers this exact scenario

http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG-TECHS/H42.html

Regards,
James

On Thu, Jul 5, 2012 at 5:04 PM, David Ashleydale < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >wrote:

> Hi,
>
> It occurred to me today that having some content in the left column of a
> page and having the main content in the middle column could come into
> conflict with ensuring that heading levels appear in correct source code
> order. It could lead to having H2s before the H1 in the source code, for
> example.
>
> I guess I could put the column with the main content first in source code
> order and then just use styles to make it look like there's another column
> of stuff on the left, but this would seem to go against having a logical
> left-right Tab order.
>
> Is this an argument against having a page layout like this?
>
> Thanks,
> David
> > > >

From: David Ashleydale
Date: Fri, Jul 06 2012 3:36PM
Subject: Re: Left Column and Heading Level Order
Previous message | Next message

On Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 2:25 PM, James Nurthen < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> WCAG2 H42 has example 2 which covers this exact scenario
>
> http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG-TECHS/H42.html


Yes, and that's one of the things that was confusing me. The "sufficient"
technique you linked to above has an example where the Hs are not in order.
However, there is also an "advisory" technique (
http://www.w3.org/TR/2012/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20120103/G141) that specifies
putting the headings in order and not skipping levels.

Since this is just advisory though, I assume it means that a web page
author can claim WCAG Level A conformance and not do it.

Still, it seems like a good thing to strive for.

Thanks,
David

From: Duff Johnson
Date: Fri, Jul 06 2012 3:46PM
Subject: Re: Left Column and Heading Level Order
Previous message | Next message

On Jul 6, 2012, at 5:25 PM, James Nurthen wrote:

> WCAG2 H42 has example 2 which covers this exact scenario
>
> http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG-TECHS/H42.html

Indeed, this example exists today. However, check the References for H42:

http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG-TECHS/H42#H42-resources

Of these?

1 is a pointer to the definition of HTML 4.0. Fair enough, I guess, but hardly the point of an accessibility specification.
2 is a link to an interesting but hardly definitive blog-post by the estimable Eric Meyer, who is self-consciously offhand in the view he offers.
3 is a link to an RNIB page that argues against Example 2.

H42 example 2 does make a statement, true, but the argument is lacking...

Duff.

From: Loretta Guarino Reid
Date: Fri, Jul 06 2012 3:50PM
Subject: Re: Left Column and Heading Level Order
Previous message | Next message

On Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 2:36 PM, David Ashleydale < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >wrote:

> On Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 2:25 PM, James Nurthen < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
>
> > WCAG2 H42 has example 2 which covers this exact scenario
> >
> > http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG-TECHS/H42.html
>
>
> Yes, and that's one of the things that was confusing me. The "sufficient"
> technique you linked to above has an example where the Hs are not in order.
> However, there is also an "advisory" technique (
> http://www.w3.org/TR/2012/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20120103/G141) that specifies
> putting the headings in order and not skipping levels.
>
> Since this is just advisory though, I assume it means that a web page
> author can claim WCAG Level A conformance and not do it.
>

Yes, David, this is correct.


> Still, it seems like a good thing to strive for.
>
> Thanks,
> David
> > > >

From: Bim Egan
Date: Fri, Jul 06 2012 4:57PM
Subject: Re: Left Column and Heading Level Order
Previous message | Next message

Hi all,

PDF and web pages don't normally have the same purpose and functionality as
one another. Most PDF files are on a single subject and don't contain
navigation panels to other related PDF files.

Each web page is also on a single subject but contains links to other pages
in the same web site and / or section of a site. The navigation isn't part
of the page topic, so shouldn't be assigned the H1 level, which is the only
level that virtually all screen readers can reach, irrespective of any
preceding heading level.

So H1 should be reserved for the main content heading, as Jared and Brian
said.

If there happen to be other headings above this in code order, then
presumably these have been provided for the convenience of screen reader
users, so that theres an easy means of reaching navigation links for
instance. Screen reader users are grateful for this aid, but not when
mathematical logic is put into play and the page has H1 at the top of all
content, such as the site name, followed by H2 for navigational sections and
main content. This just makes it very hard to locate and understand where
main content starts.

The worst I've come across was a site where so many navigational sections
preceded the main content that it took 9 key presses to reach it. That's
the visual equivalent of having no visual difference between headings, no
white space separation or any other visual clues to the whole point of the
page.

So when someone using screen reader generic heading navigation finds H2 as
the first heading on a page, they aren't disappointed or think badly of the
author, far from it, their first reaction is hope that (if this is a
navigation heading), the author will have got the rest of it right too, and
have H1 where it should be, followed by proper nesting within main content
and reverting to H2 for any other headings outside main content.

HTML5 may resolve this, but in the meantime, the system described by Jared
and Brian is the best way we have to understand the multiple section layout
of web pages.

Best,

Bim
==Bim Egan
Web Access Consultant
Find me on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id3508313&;trk=tab_pro



.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Loretta Guarino Reid" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
To: "WebAIM Discussion List" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 10:50 PM
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Left Column and Heading Level Order


On Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 2:36 PM, David Ashleydale
< = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >wrote:

> On Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 2:25 PM, James Nurthen < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
>
> > WCAG2 H42 has example 2 which covers this exact scenario
> >
> > http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG-TECHS/H42.html
>
>
> Yes, and that's one of the things that was confusing me. The "sufficient"
> technique you linked to above has an example where the Hs are not in
> order.
> However, there is also an "advisory" technique (
> http://www.w3.org/TR/2012/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20120103/G141) that specifies
> putting the headings in order and not skipping levels.
>
> Since this is just advisory though, I assume it means that a web page
> author can claim WCAG Level A conformance and not do it.
>

Yes, David, this is correct.


> Still, it seems like a good thing to strive for.
>
> Thanks,
> David
> > > >

From: Dave Smith
Date: Mon, Jul 09 2012 2:58AM
Subject: Re: Left Column and Heading Level Order
Previous message | Next message

Hi

Just a thought to add to the conversation, can using multiple h1s help here?

The first h1 for site wide content with a proper heading structure below it relating to site information, navigation etc.
The second h1 for the main content again with proper heading structure as normal.

For example:

title WebAIM: Awesome Article
h1 WebAIM
�� h2 Navigation
�� h2 From the Blog
�� h2 Community
h1 Awesome Article
�� h2 Introduction
�� h2 Story
�� h2 Conclusion

all the best
Dave Smith

> From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> To: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2012 23:57:36 +0100
> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Left Column and Heading Level Order
>
> Hi all,
>
> PDF and web pages don't normally have the same purpose and functionality as
> one another. Most PDF files are on a single subject and don't contain
> navigation panels to other related PDF files.
>
> Each web page is also on a single subject but contains links to other pages
> in the same web site and / or section of a site. The navigation isn't part
> of the page topic, so shouldn't be assigned the H1 level, which is the only
> level that virtually all screen readers can reach, irrespective of any
> preceding heading level.
>
> So H1 should be reserved for the main content heading, as Jared and Brian
> said.
>
> If there happen to be other headings above this in code order, then
> presumably these have been provided for the convenience of screen reader
> users, so that theres an easy means of reaching navigation links for
> instance. Screen reader users are grateful for this aid, but not when
> mathematical logic is put into play and the page has H1 at the top of all
> content, such as the site name, followed by H2 for navigational sections and
> main content. This just makes it very hard to locate and understand where
> main content starts.
>
> The worst I've come across was a site where so many navigational sections
> preceded the main content that it took 9 key presses to reach it. That's
> the visual equivalent of having no visual difference between headings, no
> white space separation or any other visual clues to the whole point of the
> page.
>
> So when someone using screen reader generic heading navigation finds H2 as
> the first heading on a page, they aren't disappointed or think badly of the
> author, far from it, their first reaction is hope that (if this is a
> navigation heading), the author will have got the rest of it right too, and
> have H1 where it should be, followed by proper nesting within main content
> and reverting to H2 for any other headings outside main content.
>
> HTML5 may resolve this, but in the meantime, the system described by Jared
> and Brian is the best way we have to understand the multiple section layout
> of web pages.
>
> Best,
>
> Bim
> ===
> Bim Egan
> Web Access Consultant
> Find me on LinkedIn:
> http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=33508313&;trk=tab_pro
>
>
>
> .
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Loretta Guarino Reid" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> To: "WebAIM Discussion List" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 10:50 PM
> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Left Column and Heading Level Order
>
>
> On Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 2:36 PM, David Ashleydale
> < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >wrote:
>
> > On Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 2:25 PM, James Nurthen < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> >
> > > WCAG2 H42 has example 2 which covers this exact scenario
> > >
> > > http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG-TECHS/H42.html
> >
> >
> > Yes, and that's one of the things that was confusing me. The "sufficient"
> > technique you linked to above has an example where the Hs are not in
> > order.
> > However, there is also an "advisory" technique (
> > http://www.w3.org/TR/2012/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20120103/G141) that specifies
> > putting the headings in order and not skipping levels.
> >
> > Since this is just advisory though, I assume it means that a web page
> > author can claim WCAG Level A conformance and not do it.
> >
>
> Yes, David, this is correct.
>
>
> > Still, it seems like a good thing to strive for.
> >
> > Thanks,
> > David
> > > > > > > >
> > > >
> > >

From: Bim Egan
Date: Mon, Jul 09 2012 8:16AM
Subject: Re: Left Column and Heading Level Order
Previous message | Next message

Hi Dave,

I can see an argument for starting with H1 for people with mathematical
logic in mind but personally I don't like multiple H1 headings. Pages are
designed to give visual users every possible optical clue to get them right
to the topic headline at main content, so why should blind people have to
use twice the equivalent effort to find the same information? I've also
found that it muddies the water. If the rule is one H1 at the head of main
content, that's clear, but start adding other potential uses of H1 and
suddenly you have ten on a page because someone has taken the logic further
than needed, mistakenly believing that it would be helpful.

Cheers,

Bim

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dave Smith" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
To: < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
Sent: Monday, July 09, 2012 9:58 AM
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Left Column and Heading Level Order



Hi

Just a thought to add to the conversation, can using multiple h1s help here?

The first h1 for site wide content with a proper heading structure below it
relating to site information, navigation etc.
The second h1 for the main content again with proper heading structure as
normal.

For example:

title WebAIM: Awesome Article
h1 WebAIM
h2 Navigation
h2 From the Blog
h2 Community
h1 Awesome Article
h2 Introduction
h2 Story
h2 Conclusion

all the best
Dave Smith

> From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> To: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2012 23:57:36 +0100
> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Left Column and Heading Level Order
>
> Hi all,
>
> PDF and web pages don't normally have the same purpose and functionality
> as
> one another. Most PDF files are on a single subject and don't contain
> navigation panels to other related PDF files.
>
> Each web page is also on a single subject but contains links to other
> pages
> in the same web site and / or section of a site. The navigation isn't
> part
> of the page topic, so shouldn't be assigned the H1 level, which is the
> only
> level that virtually all screen readers can reach, irrespective of any
> preceding heading level.
>
> So H1 should be reserved for the main content heading, as Jared and Brian
> said.
>
> If there happen to be other headings above this in code order, then
> presumably these have been provided for the convenience of screen reader
> users, so that theres an easy means of reaching navigation links for
> instance. Screen reader users are grateful for this aid, but not when
> mathematical logic is put into play and the page has H1 at the top of all
> content, such as the site name, followed by H2 for navigational sections
> and
> main content. This just makes it very hard to locate and understand where
> main content starts.
>
> The worst I've come across was a site where so many navigational sections
> preceded the main content that it took 9 key presses to reach it. That's
> the visual equivalent of having no visual difference between headings, no
> white space separation or any other visual clues to the whole point of the
> page.
>
> So when someone using screen reader generic heading navigation finds H2 as
> the first heading on a page, they aren't disappointed or think badly of
> the
> author, far from it, their first reaction is hope that (if this is a
> navigation heading), the author will have got the rest of it right too,
> and
> have H1 where it should be, followed by proper nesting within main content
> and reverting to H2 for any other headings outside main content.
>
> HTML5 may resolve this, but in the meantime, the system described by Jared
> and Brian is the best way we have to understand the multiple section
> layout
> of web pages.
>
> Best,
>
> Bim
> ==> Bim Egan
> Web Access Consultant
> Find me on LinkedIn:
> http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id3508313&;trk=tab_pro
>
>
>
> .
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Loretta Guarino Reid" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> To: "WebAIM Discussion List" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 10:50 PM
> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Left Column and Heading Level Order
>
>
> On Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 2:36 PM, David Ashleydale
> < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >wrote:
>
> > On Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 2:25 PM, James Nurthen < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> >
> > > WCAG2 H42 has example 2 which covers this exact scenario
> > >
> > > http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG-TECHS/H42.html
> >
> >
> > Yes, and that's one of the things that was confusing me. The
> > "sufficient"
> > technique you linked to above has an example where the Hs are not in
> > order.
> > However, there is also an "advisory" technique (
> > http://www.w3.org/TR/2012/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20120103/G141) that
> > specifies
> > putting the headings in order and not skipping levels.
> >
> > Since this is just advisory though, I assume it means that a web page
> > author can claim WCAG Level A conformance and not do it.
> >
>
> Yes, David, this is correct.
>
>
> > Still, it seems like a good thing to strive for.
> >
> > Thanks,
> > David
> > > > > > > >
> > > >
> > >

From: Nathalie Sequeira
Date: Tue, Jul 10 2012 1:03AM
Subject: Re: Left Column and Heading Level Order
Previous message | No next message

Hi Bim and Dave,

I'm someone who has settled largely in favour of using multiple H1s.

To my mind, it is the cleanest way of representing the nature of HTML
"documents". Which mostly they are not - they may *contain* documents,
but rarely consist exclusively of such.
Instead, HTML pages consist of multiple *functional blocks* - most
commonly navigation, main content, and additional information.

Where HTML 5 will finally cater to this reality, HTML4 and co. do not
provide internal mechanisms for defining these functional blocks of a
page, leading us into this dilemma of how to express these structures
non-visually ;)

Personally, I do not feel that adding H1s to delimit the different areas
of a page increases navigation effort unproportionally, but quite to the
contrary provides a clear overview for the non-sighted user similar to
the experience of sighted ones scanning the page layout.
Of course Bim, when misused this technique can be more of a hindrance
than a help, but so will any other technique when not used with
circumspection (think titles overkill! think skip link jungles!).

The ONE thing I really do not like about lower-level headings to label
secondary blocks is the fact that sections following the main content
are not structurally distiguishable from a subheading of the main
article (making them much more difficult to access via heading navigation).
Visualizing this:

<h2> navigation
<h1> Great article title
<h2> subheading
<h2> complementary content - which may (e.g. related articles) or
may not (blogrolls, event calendar...) be directly related to the main
article!

vs.

<h1> navigation
<h1> Great article title
<h2> subheading
<h1> complementary content

(whereby when using h1's I do place the main content first in source
order wherever possible).

Where the first does a lovely job in giving the main content prominence,
the second instead makes it easier to identify the page's (main!)
sections. Where the first allows less of an overview, the second does
lift "secondary" content to an arguably undeserved "importance".
But neither are semantically optimal renderings of the reality of an
HTML page.

I look forward to the time when this discussion has become obsolete
because standards and UA support unfailingly allow the programmatic
recognition of functional sections, leaving headings to fulfill their
actual semantic role :)

Nathalie


Bim Egan schrieb:
> Hi Dave,
>
> I can see an argument for starting with H1 for people with mathematical
> logic in mind but personally I don't like multiple H1 headings. Pages are
> designed to give visual users every possible optical clue to get them right
> to the topic headline at main content, so why should blind people have to
> use twice the equivalent effort to find the same information? I've also
> found that it muddies the water. If the rule is one H1 at the head of main
> content, that's clear, but start adding other potential uses of H1 and
> suddenly you have ten on a page because someone has taken the logic further
> than needed, mistakenly believing that it would be helpful.
>
> Cheers,
>
> Bim
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Dave Smith" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> To: < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
> Sent: Monday, July 09, 2012 9:58 AM
> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Left Column and Heading Level Order
>
>
>
> Hi
>
> Just a thought to add to the conversation, can using multiple h1s help here?
>
> The first h1 for site wide content with a proper heading structure below it
> relating to site information, navigation etc.
> The second h1 for the main content again with proper heading structure as
> normal.
>
> For example:
>
> title WebAIM: Awesome Article
> h1 WebAIM
> h2 Navigation
> h2 From the Blog
> h2 Community
> h1 Awesome Article
> h2 Introduction
> h2 Story
> h2 Conclusion
>
> all the best
> Dave Smith
>
>
>> From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
>> To: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
>> Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2012 23:57:36 +0100
>> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Left Column and Heading Level Order
>>
>> Hi all,
>>
>> PDF and web pages don't normally have the same purpose and functionality
>> as
>> one another. Most PDF files are on a single subject and don't contain
>> navigation panels to other related PDF files.
>>
>> Each web page is also on a single subject but contains links to other
>> pages
>> in the same web site and / or section of a site. The navigation isn't
>> part
>> of the page topic, so shouldn't be assigned the H1 level, which is the
>> only
>> level that virtually all screen readers can reach, irrespective of any
>> preceding heading level.
>>
>> So H1 should be reserved for the main content heading, as Jared and Brian
>> said.
>>
>> If there happen to be other headings above this in code order, then
>> presumably these have been provided for the convenience of screen reader
>> users, so that theres an easy means of reaching navigation links for
>> instance. Screen reader users are grateful for this aid, but not when
>> mathematical logic is put into play and the page has H1 at the top of all
>> content, such as the site name, followed by H2 for navigational sections
>> and
>> main content. This just makes it very hard to locate and understand where
>> main content starts.
>>
>> The worst I've come across was a site where so many navigational sections
>> preceded the main content that it took 9 key presses to reach it. That's
>> the visual equivalent of having no visual difference between headings, no
>> white space separation or any other visual clues to the whole point of the
>> page.
>>
>> So when someone using screen reader generic heading navigation finds H2 as
>> the first heading on a page, they aren't disappointed or think badly of
>> the
>> author, far from it, their first reaction is hope that (if this is a
>> navigation heading), the author will have got the rest of it right too,
>> and
>> have H1 where it should be, followed by proper nesting within main content
>> and reverting to H2 for any other headings outside main content.
>>
>> HTML5 may resolve this, but in the meantime, the system described by Jared
>> and Brian is the best way we have to understand the multiple section
>> layout
>> of web pages.
>>
>> Best,
>>
>> Bim
>> ===
>> Bim Egan
>> Web Access Consultant
>> Find me on LinkedIn:
>> http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=33508313&;trk=tab_pro
>>
>>
>>
>> .
>>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Loretta Guarino Reid" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
>> To: "WebAIM Discussion List" < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >
>> Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 10:50 PM
>> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Left Column and Heading Level Order
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 2:36 PM, David Ashleydale
>> < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = >wrote:
>>
>>
>>> On Fri, Jul 6, 2012 at 2:25 PM, James Nurthen < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>> WCAG2 H42 has example 2 which covers this exact scenario
>>>>
>>>> http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG-TECHS/H42.html
>>>>
>>> Yes, and that's one of the things that was confusing me. The
>>> "sufficient"
>>> technique you linked to above has an example where the Hs are not in
>>> order.
>>> However, there is also an "advisory" technique (
>>> http://www.w3.org/TR/2012/NOTE-WCAG20-TECHS-20120103/G141) that
>>> specifies
>>> putting the headings in order and not skipping levels.
>>>
>>> Since this is just advisory though, I assume it means that a web page
>>> author can claim WCAG Level A conformance and not do it.
>>>
>>>
>> Yes, David, this is correct.
>>
>>
>>
>>> Still, it seems like a good thing to strive for.
>>>
>>> Thanks,
>>> David
>>> >>> >>> >>>
>>>
>> >> >> >>
>> >> >> >>
>
> > > >
> > > >
>

--
Nathalie Sequeira
************************
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