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Re: Pdf heading levels


From: Steve Green
Date: Dec 5, 2017 10:39AM

Whilst I would report this as a technical non-compliance, I would not be at all concerned if it was not fixed. It's an issue that comes up a lot and there is often no right answer.

In all the user testing I have done I have never seen anyone have a problem with minor non-compliances in the nesting of headings like this. Consistency in the use of headings is much more important.

As you have said, you could pass the accessibility test by removing the H4 heading but that would not benefit anyone. My experience is that few screen reader users are capable of maintaining a mental model to the level of accuracy that they would notice incorrect nesting, but they do have problems if headings are not applied where they should be.

Steve Green
Managing Director
Test Partners Ltd

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Chagnon | PubCom
Sent: 05 December 2017 17:00
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List' < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Pdf heading levels

Yes, you should care about the misordered sequence of headings. Jumping from H2 to H4 is considered an error.

In situations like yours, we consider headings like Quick Tips or Checklist to be H2s (sometimes H3 is if fits the hierarchical structure). They are primary subheadings, not minor ones, and they are followed by related copy so they are headings, not body text.

In some documents they may have a different appearance, such as a change of fonts, size, and color or in a separate text box to set them off from the rest of the page's content.

It is compliant to have variations of heading styles in Word to achieve both the semantic tagging and visual formatting you need in the PDF.

"Heading 2" / <H2> tag for regular subheads in the main body text.
"Heading 2 for Quick Tips" / <H2> for the tips box heading.

Note that both headings end up with <H2> tags in the PDF, although their visual appearance can differ.

There's no standard that says all H2 tags must look the same.

Future PDF/UA tags are under development that will help make this easier and clearer to accomplish, but for now, this method works and passes accessibility checkers, especially HHS's. Of course, everything with HHS depends upon which tester reviews your file as they each have their own opinion about things like this.

— — —
Bevi Chagnon
www.PubCom.com | Technologists for Accessible Design and Publishing print – digital – web – documents – pdfs – epubs consulting – training – development – design – sec. 508 services — — — Bevi Chagnon is a US delegate (ANSI) to the ISO for PDF and PDF/UA standards

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of Alan Zaitchik
Sent: Tuesday, December 5, 2017 11:24 AM
Subject: [WebAIM] Pdf heading levels

Hi folks. I would appreciate your advice on the following.

I am working on a Word to PDF conversion. The document systematically has a structure of (for example) Heading Level 2 material followed by a “Quick Tips” or “Checklist” paragraph followed by several Heading Level 3 blocks of material. This repeats throughout some 90 pages. The Heading 2 and Heading 3 blocks really make sense as such, but my question is what to do about the “Quick Tips” or “Checklist” blocks. They deserve to be listed in the Table of Contents on their own lines, and the easiest way to do this is to make them Heading Level 4 items. They are certainly not at the same semantic level of the H3 items. But then I get a complaint from the Accessibility Checker in Acrobat that the heading levels are incorrectly nested. Should I ignore this complaint? Should I not assign any heading level to these blocks but rather indicate in some other fashion that they are “asides” or “sidebars”? They’re not, really—they are written as continuous text in the stream of the presentation. So the real semantic order genuinely is
H1 – H2 – H4 – H3 – H3 – H4 – H3 – H3 etc.
I would like to know if there is reason to care about the (mis)ordering/nesting of the heading levels.

The client is ultimately HHS.


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