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Re: heading question


From: Steve Green
Date: Dec 16, 2019 12:14AM

We see exactly the same in our user testing. Our participants range from fairly proficient to extremely proficient in terms of their ability to complete tasks efficiently, but none has any significant technical knowledge. They use a variety of strategies such as in-page search, headings list or H key to navigate by headings, and a surprisingly low number use the E key to jump to textboxes. Almost no one uses any other shortcut keys. I have never seen anyone navigate to a region and very few know how to navigate in data tables.

Nevertheless, I advocate using landmarks and other semantic mark-up correctly because user's proficiency cannot improve if that is not done. Also, the semantics can be used by user agents (and particularly browser extensions) to support people with other disabilities.

Steve Green
Managing Director
Test Partners Ltd

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of Birkir R. Gunnarsson
Sent: 16 December 2019 02:31
To: WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] heading question

Our usability testing has focused on first time users of an unfamiliar website (users could learn to use headings more effectively in the context of a site or site section that they frequent).
So far the testing has been solely focused on web content (not PDF), though our plan is to expand our testing into PDF and mobile apps.
Sadly the use of landmarks for navigation has been on the decline among screen reader users, according to the latest WebAIM screen reader survey (too lazy to Google the URL right now).
In our testing, which is limited and focused more on non-technical users, not a single users knows what landmarks are, let alone how to navigate by them.
My recommendation is to mark header, footer and main content as landmarks but I see a lot less value in the semantically specific things like complementary, I think authors have a hard time understanding wen to use it, let alone users.
I use h2s to mark start of header and footer and h1 to mark the start of the main content (this is to ensure that users do not think h3 or
h4 headings in the footer are subheadings of content on the main page, which could be an h2 or h3).
I try to keep headings sequential and make sure they describe the underlying content structure, it can be tricky when using a variety of card components that are built separately and then plopped down on the same page, but we do a fairly good job keeping it consistent.

On 12/15/19, Michael Ausbun < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> In my experience as a screen reader user and former assistive
> technology instructor, most students who receive vocational
> rehabilitation services or blindness adjustment and orientation
> training in the United States (A) use JAWS; and (B) navigate using the general heading shortcut key (H for jaws).
> The following observation will be framed in the context of jaws:
> The population of people receiving vocational
> rehabilitation services in the United States is fairly substantial,
> and, the age ranges anywhere from 14 in some states to 90. For
> example, in Utah alone, approximately 11,000 people receive services
> through the department of services for the blind and visually
> impaired. When people receive computer services, most are provided a
> windows PC with JAWS and instructed how to use the basics for daily
> living, including basic web browsing (I believe students should learn
> multiple screen readers, but my opinion is a minority thought).
> My thought:
> Heading hierarchy is really, really important for spatial and
> contextual orientation to web pages.
> General belief:
> With the inconsistencies in:
> * Heading application
> * Heading sequential ordering
> * Heading placement
> * Heading hierarchy
> * Heading text
> Relying on headings for orientation and navigation is inefficient. If
> headings are well structured; and, if headings are used for each
> section of a web page; and, if headings are sequentially ordered; and,
> if heading texts are clear, concise, and descriptive; then, using the
> 1-6 heading level navigation coupled with JAWS+F6 for curating all
> headings on a page is helpful. However, because most are not, using
> the H key is sufficient beyond familiar documents.
> Thought:
> If we as a community pushed harder for a consistent structure-similar
> to the way header, nav, main, aside, footer, etc. landmark regions
> have been implemented in HTML5, I think the efficiency would be
> significantly improved, and, the instruction within rehabilitation
> instruction would significantly improve as well.
> Right now though, a rather substantial population-at least in the
> US-is being instructed more to rely on general V. specific navigation methods.
> With the poor quality of assistive technology instruction in the K-12
> system, and with the increase of blindness as a result of aging, I
> tend to believe this trend will continue, with the majority of users
> who are not experts (most) following this pattern.
> Not really sure any of this is helpful, but I had to get my thoughts
> out-they have been floating around my head all weekend.
> Hope all is well!
> Respectfully,
> ,Michael
> > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> >

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