Support » Theme: Tiny Framework » Using H1 instead of H2 inside ARTICLE

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  • Theme Author Tomas Mackevicius


    I made the decision to have only 1 H1 tag because of SEO concerns, but also because of the accessibility. You also had to see, that in the most important place – single article post – title gets H1, it’s on line 32.

    By using <h1>s for each section, you are semantically stating to
    screen reader users that the sub-sections are equal to and parallel to
    the document title. This is just not correct. Now if the outlining
    mechanisms worked, the browser would appropriately present the section
    H1s as second level headings. But it doesn’t work. There is no
    difference in how a heading structure would be presented in an
    HTML4/XHTML document headings and in an HTML5 document with sectioning
    elements (excepting that one version of JAWS that tried and failed
    miserably to implement the outlining mechanism). So at present, using
    <h1>s everywhere results in an incorrect document structure as
    presented to screen reader users regardless of the flavor of HMTL

    You asked how this impacts users…

    It is a common strategy for screen reader users to quickly navigate to
    the first <h1> in a document (typically by pressing the 1 key) to
    quickly determine the document title. This almost always places focus
    directly at the beginning of the main content area. They can also then
    navigate the <h2>s in a document (typically by pressing the 2 key),
    etc. to determine the major page sections and sub-sections.
    Additionally, the user can open a list of the headings and can
    navigate/filter those headings by level.

    If H1s are used to begin each sub-section, this functionality becomes
    much more difficult as they cannot differentiate document and section
    headings (and potentially sub-section and sub-sub section). The
    ability to quickly jump to the document title and beginning of the
    main content is diminished. How can they know which of all the <h1>s
    is the document title and which are section headings if they are
    presented identically?

    This can also impact users that use keyboard enhancement extensions or
    voice control to navigate by headings. They would expect that headings
    that appear smaller and below larger headings to be sub-headings, when
    in your presented structure they would be parallel headings.

    Hi Tomas

    This was a really interesting read and I totally see where you are coming from. My only outstanding concern would be that the discussion on WebAIM are quiet old, so it would be really interesting to know whether screen readers have since caught up with understanding sections.

    Thanks for your time in investigating / responding to this!

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