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Heading

Headings generate the HTML4 document outline

Introduction

Upon visiting a web page for the first time, a sighted user will typically scan the headings of the page to create a visual model of it's content. On subsequent visits to the page, the user recollects this visual model.

A non-sighted user will typically want to do exactly the same, using their screen reader to scan for headings to create a mental model.

The hierarchy of these headings dictates the HTML4 document outline. This HTML4 document outline is less important now with the advent of HTML5 and it's newer, improved document outline. Much more important is the impact of headings to screen reader accessibility.

Working Examples

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Best Practices

Every page must have a single H1 heading.

The H1 heading should describe the content and purpose of the page.

Every page region requires a single H2 heading. This heading describes the content and purpose of the region. It is good practice to wrap every page region in a div or section tag.

Every page region can contain multiple H3 - H6 headings, but they must be placed in the markup in strict hierarchical order.

Interaction Design

This section provides interaction design for keyboard, screen reader and pointing devices.

Keyboard

Headings are not interactive elements and therefore have no keyboard interaction.

A heading may give the illusion of being an interactive element if it contains a link, or is wrapped in a link, but the heading element itself never receives focus.

Screen Reader

Screen reader will identify heading by it's level, e.g. 1 to 6.

Pointer

Headings are not interactive elements and therefore have no pointer interaction.

A heading may give the illusion of being an interactive element if it contains a link, or is wrapped in a link, but the heading element itself is not clickable.

Developer Guide

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