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Re: Does WCAG require headings start at 1?


From: Schulz, Leslie
Date: Jul 29, 2021 1:46PM

I believe that Lisa is on the right track of what users need.

I would like to point out that even though the w3.org is the organization responsible for creating the WCAG guidelines, this does not mean that every single page on the website was designed to serve as an example. Any website that large was written by many different people at many different times.
If there are failures on the site, please contact the w3.org and let them know, especially if that page is within the WCAG guidelines.

Automatic tools can give passing grades for headings if they find that no headings are skipped.

Only people can determine the logic of headings.

I once worked with a Bootstrap template that definitely passed automatic tools, but the headings were not logical for an outline.
Bootstrap is designed as rows.
The first "row" of the template had the h1.
The second row had h2's.
The 3rd row had h3's, etc. All the way to h6.

Think of headings as an outline of the page.
The h1, which should be at or close to the top, should state the main topic.
Then consider the outline.
H2's should be logical.
H3's should be related to the h2 they are under.


And, whatever you do, NEVER set a heading because you like the size you get when you do.
That is what css is for.

All that being said, this is an excellent article from the Paciello Group on what does and does not fail WCAG.

They state that the only actual failures are
1. Heading-like text that isn't marked up as headings
2. Illogical heading order
3. Non-descriptive headings

That being said, I still vote for the logic of one h1 on the page.


-----Original Message-----
Sent: Thursday, July 29, 2021 4:20 AM
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List' < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Does WCAG require headings start at 1?

A classic example of a site that follows WCAG and gets 100% on Google Lighthouse is H&M, but the headings are all over the place. Two h1s and skipping from h1 to h3 on the landing page, and no h1 at the start of content with only h3s on the home page.


-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of L Snider
Sent: 24 July 2021 12:28 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Does WCAG require headings start at 1?

I take a whole different view, and ignore WCAG. Everyone I have known who uses a screen reader every day wanted a Heading 1 on the page at the top and as the first heading. So I always advise clients to do this...Plus, for me, headings were given numbers to indicate importance, otherwise what is the point of the numbers? People who are blind, Deaf-Blind and low vision have told me over the years that they have to figure out what the developer or content person was trying to do, and they have enough barriers thrown at them every day on social media platforms, websites, documents, etc. I do many things that aren't WCAG, including checking for colour blindness combinations, since we have had simulators since 2000.

Others do things differently than me.



On Fri, Jul 23, 2021 at 4:40 PM Krista Greear < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> Perhaps this question is a bit silly but I'm looking for confirmation
> -
> Is there any where in the WCAG that says that web page headings need
> to start with an h1? There are numerous examples on the W3's site that
> have headings start with an h2.
> Thanks!
> --
> Krista Greear
> Accessibility and Inclusivity Crusader ATHEN Executive Council Vice
> President Access Technology Higher Education Network
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