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Re: Is NVDA using the wrong type of widget (tree) to show the headings on a page?


From: Steve Green
Date: Mar 16, 2019 3:46PM

We see the same in our user testing. When screen reader users visit a page they don't get an immediate holistic impression like a sighted user does. Instead, they progressively build a mental model of the page to help them navigate within it. There is far too much information to remember, so they only remember the most important stuff. Even if headings are marked up correctly, there's little chance they will remember the levels except for the h1. With the exception of the main heading, the text in each heading is far more important than its level.

My impression is that the correctness of heading levels has virtually no effect on task completion or efficiency. By contrast, completion and efficiency are substantially affected if content is not marked up as a heading when it should be, or vice versa. If anyone wants to sponsor a study into this, I would love to run some tests to validate or disprove this assertion.

Steve Green
Managing Director
Test Partners Ltd

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of Guy Hickling
Sent: 16 March 2019 21:16
To: webaim-forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Is NVDA using the wrong type of widget (tree) to show the headings on a page?

> ...usability testing with screen reader users and I admit I was
> surprised
to see how little attention was paid to heading levels.

I think the reason your user testers didn't pay any attention to the heading levels was that almost every website under the sun gets it wrong until they first have an audit done! They use the wrong levels, and don't use heading elements at all on some, and use headings where they aren't true headings. Many devs choose the heading level to get the text size they want, instead of using CSS.

So I'm sure many users don't expect the levels to be useful at present. I very rarely have sites come in for audit that already have the levels right. As we do our work and persuade websites to comply, the position will hopefully get better.