WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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RE: Navigation lists and headers - best practise?


From: Jon Gunderson
Date: Aug 23, 2006 4:20PM

The best pracitces reseverve the H1 element for titling of a web resource[1] and should be a subset of the TITLE element content. in the case where a resource is only a navgation bar and the H1 could be used to label the list of links.

One of the main purposes of developing the best practices is to develop automation tools that can verify their use for functional accessibility.

These tools include:

Mozilla/Firefox Accessibility Toolbar

Functional Web Accessibility Evaluator


[1] http://cita.uiuc.edu/html-best-practices/nav/title.php

---- Original message ----
>Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2006 15:15:24 -0400
>From: "Philip Kiff" < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
>Subject: RE: [WebAIM] Navigation lists and headers - best practise?
>To: "WebAIM Discussion List" < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
>Penny wrote:
>> I've looked at the UIUC "Best Practices" site before but I must have
>> missed this: http://cita.uiuc.edu/html-best-practices/nav/menus.php
>> Does everyone agree that it is best practice to have an h2 heading
>> before a ul used for navigation?
>I think the UIUC best practices site is a great resource; however, in this
>particular case, I think their recommendation is specific to their own
>site -- i.e. the document is a list of best practices for folks working on
>various sections of the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign's
>website, and not all the practices they list are necessarily meant to apply
>generally to all other public websites everywhere.
>I think it can be handy for some users if navigation menu lists are preceded
>by headings, and I have begun to think that adding them is a generally good
>idea, but I don't think it makes sense in all circumstances. And it
>certainly would not make sense to specify h2 as the particular heading level
>to use.
>The appropriate heading level will depend on how headings are used elsewhere
>on the site, and it will also depend on where the navigation appears in the
>source order of the page code. For example, if the navigation menu is the
>first thing that appears in the source order of the page's X/HTML code, then
>it would be technically incorrect to apply anything except an h1 level
>heading to the menu (since the first heading on a page must be h1 to conform
>to other guidelines). In practical terms, I'm not sure that marking such
>menus (ones that appear at the very top of the source order of the page)
>with a heading is necessary or would lead to better ease of use for people
>with disabilities or to PDA/cell phone/text-only browsers.

Jon Gunderson, Ph.D.
Director of IT Accessibility Services
Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services (CITES)
Coordinator of Assistive Communication and Information Technology
Disability Resources and Education Services (DRES)

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