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RE: Heading levels


From: zara
Date: Jun 25, 2006 12:40PM

> its because you have gone from <h3> back to <h2>. You can't
> back-track up a level, so working down a page you can't have <h3> on
> line N then on line Q put <h2>, it would have to be <h4> as 4 follows
> 3 numerically speaking.

The techniques document for WCAG 1.0 indicates :

"Users should order heading elements properly. For example, in HTML, H2 elements should follow H1 elements, H3 elements should follow H2 elements, etc."[1]

However, I believe that this information can be taken too literally or was poorly explained (perhaps in attempt to prevent abuse). While it is important to preserve logic in how headings are ordered, it is also reasonable to consider the purpose of the content and use them accordingly (as long as it makes sense structurally).

Also, the W3C "The global structure of an HTML document" indicates :

"Some people consider skipping heading levels to be bad practice. They accept H1 H2 H1 while they do not accept H1 H3 H1 since the heading level H2 is skipped."

So there does not seem to be a clear disapproval in this document of what Mr. Sparber is proposing. The example he has provided seems quite logical in that it is clear that the H3s following each H2 are subsection titles relating to the section.

If this is truly forbidden by WCAG 1.0 or just the result of inadequate explanations, it should be fixed in any case. I have found nothing specific about this in information relating to headings in the current draft of WCAG 2.0 nor the complementary documents so it is hard to tell if WAI's position has evolved on this issue though I may have missed it as I find these documents somewhat difficult to consult.


[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10-HTML-TECHS/#document-headers
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/struct/global.html#h-7.5.5

Catherine Roy, consultante