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Re: headings


From: Chris Heilmann
Date: Feb 21, 2005 6:30AM

>> A lot of developers use the H1 as the name of the site, the
>> h2 as the section and so on, which is simply wrong.
> On Friday you made the above statement.
> Several people have made a number of assertions in this thread, but I have
> yet to get a direct response to this one simple question, despite the
> strength of the original assertion. Jukka made a number of valid points,
> but
> while his opinions on related issues appear to agree with yours, they did
> not
> appear to me to address this point.
> I am not advocating that we should stipulate that the site name appears
> within an H1 heading, but can anyone give me a valid reason for not doing
> so,
> if the site owner so desires?

Let's stick to facts, please:
The statement describes a scenario where H1 is the site name, h2 the site
section *and so on*, and this is simply a wrong use of page headers,
unless your page also is the site.

Now, about the H1 on its own:

Personally, I'd rather have the topic of the _page_ as its header, not the
name of the site. Search engines agree with that. I'd be glad to hear from
real users of assistive technology if that is the case for them, too. My
guess is that when you navigate through a whole site via assistive
technology, it can be rather annoying to hear/read the name of the site
every time as the most important text element of the page.
From a branding perspective, it does make sense, and it also might help
when you end up on this page from a link in another site. The question is
if that does justify turning a page level structure element into a tool
for site structure.
A valid reason for a client would be the SEO aspect, as it is very hard to
make them care about the experience with assistive technology. Another
would be to point out the WAI guidelines:

"Long documents are often divided into a variety of chapters, chapters
have subtopics and subtopics are divided into various sections, sections
into paragraphs, etc. These semantic chunks of information make up the
structure of the document.

Sections should be introduced with the HTML heading elements (H1-H6).
Other markup may complement these elements to improve presentation (e.g.,
the HR element to create a horizontal dividing line), but visual
presentation is not sufficient to identify document sections."

To me, this reads as a section of the document, not of the site.

Chris Heilmann
Blog: http://www.wait-till-i.com
Writing: http://icant.co.uk/
Binaries: http://www.onlinetools.org/