WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Should site logos be H# tags?


From: Paul Bohman
Date: Nov 16, 2005 3:40PM

Austin, Darrel wrote:

>>From a semantics standpoint, this is usually the argued solution:
> H1 = Minnesota Judicial Branch
> H2 = 2nd District
> H3 = How to pay a ticket
> But from an accessibility standpoint, does that make as much sense?

To me it makes sense. I suspect that any hierarchical outline that would
make sense to a sighted user would make equal sense to a screen reader
user, assuming that the screen reader has the capability to interpret
headings and pass on this information to the user (all current versions
of the major brands that I'm aware of have this capability). The
question then becomes "what is the structure of this content?" rather
than "does the document's structure work for screen reader users?" The
second question seems to ask whether hierarchies are different for
sighted users than they are for blind users. I don't think they are.

We are currently in the process of redesigning the WebAIM site, and this
issue has come up among us as well. Not every page has the same type of
layout or structure, so it makes it hard to say exactly what the
semantic structure of each page should be without taking the context
into account.

Here's what we've decided:

On the home page, make the WebAIM logo an <h1>, with smaller units of
<h2> and <h3> for the subtitles and their respective subsections.

For pages that contain articles and other content with titles, the logo
is not the <h1> (the logo is contained in a non-semantic <div> in our
case). The title of the article is the <h1>, with subsequent lower
levels of headings as appropriate.

There are also some pages that are more like portal pages, such as our
"Products" page or our "Services" page, each of which contains a list of
links, but very little in the way of unlinked prose. For these pages,
the <h1> is the word "Products" (or "Services", etc.), with the types of
Products receiving <h2> headings.

Do screen reader users actually use the headings for navigation? I don't
have any data to say one way or the other. They can if they want to, and
if they know that the functionality is available.

If I were a regular screen reader user, I think I would want to access a
list of headings in order to obtain an outline of the page's content. I
may not do this on all pages, but whenever I feel it would be
appropriate or useful.

Perhaps screen reader users on this list would like to tell us whether
they use headings, and how useful they find them.

Paul Bohman
Director of Training Products and Services
WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind)
Utah State University