[Athen] Heading 1 best practice: document vs web

Preast, Vanessa vanessa.preast at dmu.edu
Sat Mar 25 18:20:28 PDT 2017

Should I take this to mean that it is OK to apply Heading 1 more than once in a Word document as long as one does so consistently?


From: athen-list [mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman13.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of Jennifer Sutton
Sent: Saturday, March 25, 2017 3:45 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Heading 1 best practice: document vs web

For my money, best practices for documents are clearer than they are for the web. See citations of recent discussions, below. I believe it's critical to be realistic when it comes to heading recommendations, especially on the web.

Basically, I think there are a lot bigger "accessibility fish to fry" than trying to be absolutely rigid about the idea of one h1 on a webpage.

I think it's hard, and not realistic, to have a one-size-fits-all rule on the web, given the use of content management systems. So, for the web, I focus on the idea of *consistent* use of headings, and that benefits everyone, including those who are in charge of style sheets.

But for documents, my tendency would be to say: "if it works like a book, make it work like a book . . . i.e. h1 is your title, so there should be only one." Documents are much easier to control, or, they *can* be, depending on tools and competency. Given all of the document checkers and toolbars for accessibility that are around, they should be helping make Word documents and PDFs better.



Three citations, mostly web-focused and two of the three based on recent discussions of trying to automate headings:

The myth of automated heading outlines


The Document Outline Dilemma:
[longer than the citation above, but includedto help understand that this is not simple/clearcut and why, imo]
A page in a WAI tutorial, in progress:

On 3/25/2017 12:42 PM, Preast, Vanessa wrote:

I'm trying to put together a best practice handbook for our stakeholders. While H1 use is clear for webpages, I have not really been able to get a consensus answer on using Heading 1 in documents. Is Heading 1 always only used once to mark the title, or can it be used multiple times in a Word document? If the former, it seems to not fit well with the auto-generated table of contents, which pulls in H1, H2 and H3 by default.... What about book chapters vs book title?

True or False? Heading 1 can be used multiple times within a MS Word document assuming the rest of the headings are nested appropriately. (Unlike a webpage which only uses Heading 1 once per page).

If there is a definitive answer on using Headings in documents, can you refer me to them? I want to make sure I'm providing the best information.



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