Understanding Success Criterion 2.4.6: Headings and Labels

Success Criterion 2.4.6 Headings and Labels (Level AA): Headings and labels describe topic or purpose.

Intent

The intent of this Success Criterion is to help users understand what information is contained in Web pages and how that information is organized. When headings are clear and descriptive, users can find the information they seek more easily, and they can understand the relationships between different parts of the content more easily. Descriptive labels help users identify specific components within the content.

Labels and headings do not need to be lengthy. A word, or even a single character, may suffice if it provides an appropriate cue to finding and navigating content.

This Success Criterion does not require headings or labels. This Success Criterion requires that if headings or labels are provided, they be descriptive. This Success Criterion also does not require that content acting as a heading or label be correctly marked up or identified - this aspect is covered separately by 1.3.1: Info and Relationships. It is possible for content to pass this Success Criterion (providing descriptive content that acts as headings or labels) while failing Success Criterion 1.3.1 (if the headings or labels aren't correctly marked up/identified). Conversely, it is also possible for content to pass Success Criterion 1.3.1 (with headings or labels correctly marked up or identified), while failing this Success Criterion (if those headings or labels are not sufficiently clear or descriptive).

Further, in the case of labels, this Success Criterion does not take into consideration whether or not alternative methods of providing an accessible name for form controls and inputs has been used - this aspect is covered separately by 4.1.2: Name, Role and Value. It is possible for controls and inputs to have an appropriate accessible name (e.g. using aria-label="...") and therefore pass Success Criterion 4.1.2, but to still fail this Success Criterion (if the label is not sufficiently clear or descriptive).

This success criteria does not require the use of labels; however, it does require that if labels are present, they must be sufficiently clear or descriptive. Please see 3.3.2: Labels or Instructions for more information on the use of labels.

Benefits

Examples

Related Resources

Resources are for information purposes only, no endorsement implied.

Techniques

Each numbered item in this section represents a technique or combination of techniques that the WCAG Working Group deems sufficient for meeting this Success Criterion. However, it is not necessary to use these particular techniques. For information on using other techniques, see Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria, particularly the "Other Techniques" section.

Sufficient Techniques

  1. G130: Providing descriptive headings
  2. G131: Providing descriptive labels
Note

Headings and labels must be programmatically determined, per Success Criterion 1.3.1 .

Key Terms

label

text or other component with a text alternative that is presented to a user to identify a component within Web content

Note

A label is presented to all users whereas the name may be hidden and only exposed by assistive technology. In many (but not all) cases the name and the label are the same.

Note

The term label is not limited to the label element in HTML.