[Athen] Question about headings

Karen McCall K4mccall at outlook.com
Tue Jan 18 10:33:07 PST 2022

I believe it is currently a PDF/UA - 1 failure.

I find myself searching for missing heading levels when heading levels are skipped. This wastes time. Did my screen reader miss something, did it crash, do I still have focus...where did the missing sections go?

But then I tend to write using sequential headings.

It frustrates me, checkpoint or not, when headings are skipped. It is like having a web document where the author liked the look of Heading 6 so made everything a heading 6. There is no way to navigate any meaningful structure. There is no content with subheadings or topics under them. I see this a lot on web pages too. Instead of using CSS or in Word, styles, just pick a heading level you like and use it for the entire document. Equally frustrating.

Cheers, Karen

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of glen walker
Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2022 1:25 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Question about headings

The question was more about skipping heading levels as opposed to the usefulness of headings.

Yes, you can skip levels if it makes logical sense. If you have a main h1 and then a few sub h2's, then if any of those h2's need a sub-sub-heading, then don't skip and use an h4. It's not a technical WCAG failure but an h3 would make sense at that point.

However, if you have h1 and h2's and some pages have an h3 and then you have h4's in your footer, then if you have a page with only an h1 and an h2, then it's ok to have h4's in the footer without having any h3's on the page.

On Tue, Jan 18, 2022 at 10:56 AM Susan Kelmer <Susan.Kelmer at colorado.edu<mailto:Susan.Kelmer at colorado.edu>> wrote:
My screenreading students appreciate the headings. They are okay with three levels - H1, H2, H3, but if we need deeper we should do it.

Here's the thing about headings, though...they help make a consistent output and a visually pleasing document, and a document that will work well for sighted AND non-sighted users. They are also easier than adding bolding, centering, color, and sizing individually to different parts of the text.

I have trouble understanding why anyone would fight an efficient process with a beautiful outcome.

Susan Kelmer
Alternate Format Production Program Manager
Disability Services
Division of Student Affairs
T 303 735 4836

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From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu>> On Behalf Of Swanson,Allison
Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2022 10:51 AM
To: 'ATHENS ' <athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>
Subject: [Athen] Question about headings

Hello All,

We're having some debate on our campus about whether it's ok to skip heading levels or not. I've always understood that it was best not to, but WCAG doesn't explicitly state this. What is the consensus from actual screen reader users?


Allison Swanson
AT-IT Coordinator & Accessibility Facilitator
308 Occupational Therapy Building
allison.r.swanson at colostate.edu<mailto:allison.r.swanson at colostate.edu>

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