Headings not Used to Provide Structure

Short Description

There are no headings or, heading tags are used inappropriately such as, for visual esthetics

Long Description

  • Headings can provide important information about the layout of a page and the organization of content. Layout and organization can help a user better understand and process information. Heading divisions give content differentiation, meaning, and make content easier to navigate.
  • When a user navigates a page with a screen reader, all the content appears in a linear form; they essentially read through the HTML like reading through the lines of a book. Visual information such as font size, color, and location on the page help a sighted user more quickly navigate past irrelevant information and find what they are looking for. Using appropriate heading markup gives a screen reader or magnifier user this same information.
  • Proper heading markup gives screen reader and magnifier users additional ways to navigate through the content. There are short cut keys that allow blind/low vision users to navigate from section to section more efficiently. When appropriate heading, section, region, and landmark markup is absent, a screen reader user must navigate one element at a time, trying to derive meaningful relationships. This can be tedious.

Example of Issue

Example of main content without headings to provide programmatic information

Accessibility/Usability

Accessibility
Usability

Impacted Assistive Technology

Screen Reader
Screen Magnifier

Impacted Type of Device

Computer
Mobile

Recommendations

  • Use proper heading markup to indicate the page title and significant sections.
  • Use headings to indicate a hierarchical organization of content.
  • To read more about the importance of meaningful headings, you can read Basic Structure on the Accessibility and Usability site.