Information Structure Does not Reflect Content Importance

Short Description

Screen reader navigates through content in a different order than visual indicators might suggest a user should, making content confusing or seem out of order

Long Description

  • Generally, there is information that a user should read sooner upon arriving on a page and other information they should read later. There are a number of ways to indicate this visually, including location on a page, font format, and graphics or images. None of this information is available to a screen reader user with the same ease and rapidity as a sighted person looking at it, although the order in which a screen reader accesses the information can reflect some of the same information.
  • When a screen reader user arrives on a page, they will often explore the page structure to find the most relevant information.
  • If content appears to a screen reader in a way that does not somehow reflect a combination of level of importance and logical navigation, then navigating the content can be tedious. Since someone who is blind cannot just glance at the screen a lack of meaningful organization, means they have to navigate the screen item by item. The information structure can help find important information in a rational order, helping the user navigate past unnecessary parts of the page.
  • A screen reader user only knows what content a page contains once they navigate to and through it. If the main content of a page is hidden behind secondary information or unimportant content, then there is a greater chance the screen reader user will miss the main content.

Example of Issue

The following example shows how a lack of hierarchical information makes it difficult to organize content


  • A screen reader accesses the html of a page, so make sure content colonizes in an order a user should read it in.
  • To learn more about communicating content importance, read the article Basic Structure on the Usability and Accessibility Site.



Impacted Assistive Technology

Screen Reader

Impacted Type of Device