[Athen] [EXT] Question about headings

Karlen Communications info at karlencommunications.com
Tue Jan 18 12:21:59 PST 2022

Whew, I was a bit confused as well. Headings don't belong in headers,
footers or tables.

I've been advocating for a "TableNav" structure so that table navigational
headings could be implemented in a way that a list of headings would only
show the document headings but another keyboard command would only show a
list of TableNav "headings" in tables.

I'd defer to Bevi Chagnon on headings in footnotes or endnotes as she has
some great examples of how footnotes or endnotes can span multiple pages. We
may need a "ReferenceNav heading" for those instances. We can then keep the
different types of navigational points separate so that we know where we are
in the content.main body, table or footnote/endnote.

Cheers, Karen

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf
Of Katherine Deibel
Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2022 2:54 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] [EXT] Question about headings

Well, a few things here.

First, keep in mind that WCAG was explicitly designed for web pages. Due to
technical legacy of Tim Berners-Lee not including a visible title tag in the
<body>, people co-opted the H1 heading to be titles. That led to the
nonsense that is currently the only one H1 per web page and the loss of
heading semantics in HTML. Although document accessibility is connected to
WCAG, I do find that it doesn't necessarily fully map. We should be making
the rational choices on what is best for our clients moreso than strict
conformance to WCAG.

With that in mind, conformance to WCAG regarding headings is pretty loose.
That TPGi article is pretty infamous. Having worked in academic
accessibility, my patrons generally wanted sensible, proper headings,
especially if they came academic articles with standard layouts. Moreover,
the claim that users expect a single H1 has nothing to do with semantics but
just decades of bad practice.

As for the organization chart instance, I'm not certain that I would use
headings for that markup. I'd have to see an example of it that would be
deemed usable to question it.

But just a few other things:

* First, any of you who said you can have more than one H1 in a PDF
since it is not a web page are people who I love! I've been fighting hard
lately that headings should be used with current semantics. Titles are not
headings, not even if it is a chapter title. Over-generalizing the semantics
breaks down super fast. Moreover, if the issue is that most assistive
technologies don't report the Title markup in Word or PDFs, the problem is
with the AT. Fix them instead of kludging the semantics.

* Regarding headings in footers, I lost the context of that, but if it
is a webpage, I recommend always having a H2 that marks up the page footer
even if it said H2 is screen reader only in the CSS. While it is true that
screen reader users can navigate by landmarks, not all users do. If you were
not referring to a web page but a document, I'm a little confused about how
headings could occur in a footer but I'd be happy to take a look.

Katherine "Kate" Deibel, PhD

Library Accessibility Specialist

Twitter: https://twitter.com/metageeky
GitHub: https://github.com/metageeky

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu
<mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> > On Behalf Of
Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2022 2:28 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu
<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu> >
Subject: Re: [Athen] [EXT] Question about headings

Thank you all for your input. I was sure that was what I had heard and
understood throughout the years. I just wanted to make sure I'm not teaching
the wrong thing!

The web developer I'm debating with is citing some discussions where it was
determined that there are cases where sequential headings would actually not
make sense: TPGi: When do headings fail WCAG?

An example the developer gave me was an organization chart where headings
are used to depict organization hierarchy: h1 = President, h2 = VP, h3 =
AVP, h4 = Executive Director, h5 = Director.

"In that structural hierarchy, there may be divisions/departments that don't
have an AVP, or Executive Director, or potentially other levels. In those
cases, it would not make sense visually, or structurally to elevate people
from lower levels to conform to a specific document structure."

I can see where this is a case where skipping heading levels would actually
make sense. Does anyone have thoughts on that?

I think for most ordinary web content, however, it's still going to be best
practice to keep headings sequential.


Allison Swanson

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu
<mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> > On Behalf Of Robert
Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2022 11:45 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu
<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu> >
Subject: Re: [Athen] [EXT] Question about headings

** Caution: EXTERNAL Sender **

Keep a logical flow in order to keep from confusing the end user. Headings
should follow the same flow as an outline.

Robert Lee Beach

Assistive Technology Specialist - Student Accessibility & Support Services

Kansas City Kansas Community College

7250 State Ave. - Suite # 3384 - Kansas City, KS 66112

O 913-288-7671 | F 913-288-7678

rbeach at kckcc.edu <mailto:rbeach at kckcc.edu>

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu
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Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2022 11:51 AM
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<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu> >
Subject: [EXT][Athen] Question about headings

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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


<mailto:allison.r.swanson at colostate.edu> allison.r.swanson at colostate.edu

d=0> Assistive Technology Resource Center

KFQjB4CQt7KhCLY%3D&reserved=0> Accessibility By Design

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