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Re: headings for links list


From: Tim Harshbarger
Date: May 16, 2011 3:42PM


Here are my thoughts both as someone who uses a screen reader and someone who does accessibility work.

How crucial the heading is will depend on the context.

I think it would be fairly supportable for me to say that someone using a screen reader is more likely to use headings to jump from section to section on a page than other types of elements, like lists. So, if the list represents a section of the page or part of a section of a page that users might want quick access to, then the heading could be extremely useful.

I also think the heading can become more crucial depending on how easy it is for a user to figure out what the purpose of the list is. Sometimes, reading through a list, it is quite obvious how all the items are related. Other times, it can be much less so--because either the nature of the relationship is unclear or the items share more than one type of relationship.

apple, orange, watermelon.

Is the relationship I want to emphasize that they are fruits, edible, or spherical in nature? Sometimes I have seen lists of links where one list is sectional navigation and the other list of links are sub-sectional navigation. Because they were just lists, it was unclear to me what the purpose was...actually, the fact is, as a user, I made some bad assumptions about the purpose of the links which led to me making mistakes and having difficulty completing tasks on the site...so, it was less that I consciously thought the lists were unclear and more that I drew the wrong conclusions because the UI was unclear.

I am uncertain that means you always need headings before lists, just that their presence may be more necessary in certain circumstances where the list by itself might cause the user to make errors or be less effective.

-----Original Message-----
From: <EMAIL REMOVED> [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Angela French
Sent: Monday, May 16, 2011 4:11 PM
To: 'WebAim Forum ( <EMAIL REMOVED> )'
Subject: [WebAIM] headings for links list

Today I realized how hard it is to find something specific within the WCAG 2.0!

Can anyone tell me if there is anything that indicates that a heading should be used to introduce a list of links that would reside in the content of a page (as opposed to providing a heading on a navigation menu)? I thought there was, but now that I am looking for it specifically, it eludes me.

To those of you who are screen readers, how important is it to you that a list of links have some sort of introductory heading, as opposed to discovering the nature of the links list by its context in the page content?

Thank you.

Angela French
Internet Specialist
State Board for Community and Technical Colleges