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Re: Heading order
From: Léonie Watson
Date: Sep 30, 2015 9:48AM
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> From: WebAIM-Forum On Behalf Of Schafer, Carmen
> We have encountered several instances of improper heading order (e.g. an
> <h4> above an <h3>), but we can't seem to find a firm agreement as to a)
> whether improper heading order should be cited as an accessibility concern
> or usability/design concern or b) which, if any, of the WCAG 2.0 Success
> Criteria covers improper heading order.
> Would anyone be willing to weigh in and possibly give us a definitive answer
> so we make sure we have the fullest possible understanding of this issue and
> pass it on to developers and others.
Do you have an example of the <h4> before <h3> scenario? Depending on the overall heading hierarchy, it may be entirely correct for the headings to be structured in this way. For example:
As others have noted, there is sometimes a good case for not starting the hierarchy with an <h1>. An example:
The key thing is to make sure the heading hierarchy reflects the structure of the content. For headings to be usable they need to be a representation of the visual structure.
For technical accessibility, heading hierarchy is usually handled under WCAG SC1.3.1 (info and relationships) . One of the suggested techniques for meeting 1.3.1 is G141 (organizing a page using headings) .
If the <h4> preceeds the <h3> only to achieve some visual effect, then it fails SC1.3.1 under F43 (due to using structural markup in a way that does not represent relationships in the content) .
Senior accessibility engineer @PacielloGroup @LeonieWatson