Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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G130: Providing descriptive headings


All technologies.

This technique relates to:


The objective of this technique is to make section headings within Web content descriptive. Descriptive headings and titles (see Providing descriptive titles for Web pages) work together to give users an overview of the content and its organization. Descriptive headings identify sections of the content in relation both to the Web page as a whole and to other sections of the same Web page.

Descriptive headings help users find specific content and orient themselves within the Web page.

Authors may also want to consider putting the most important information at the beginning of each heading. This helps users “skim" the headings to locate the specific content they need, and is especially helpful when browsers or assistive technology allow navigation from heading to heading.


Example 1

An HTML page that describes the range of tasks for disaster preparation may have the following headings:

Example Code:

              <h1>Disaster preparation</h1>
                <h2>Flood preparation</h2>
                <h2>Fire preparation</h2>

Note that the level 2 headings have the distinguishing information at the beginning (ie, instead of "Preparation for floods", "Preparation for fires", etc).

Example 2

A short article about the history of a town that explains about the founding and expansion of the town and then goes into some depth about the current situation. The title of the Web page is "History of Ourtown". The first section is called "The founding of Ourtown". The second section is called "Expansion of Ourtown". The third section is called "Ourtown today" which has the following subsections: "People in Ourtown", "Organizations in Ourtown" and "Buildings in Ourtown".


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  1. Determine if the Web page contains headings.

  2. Check that each heading identifies its section of the content.

Expected Results

If this is a sufficient technique for a success criterion, failing this test procedure does not necessarily mean that the success criterion has not been satisfied in some other way, only that this technique has not been successfully implemented and can not be used to claim conformance.

Techniques are Informative

Techniques are informative—that means they are not required. The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria from the WCAG 2.0 standard—not the techniques. For important information about techniques, please see the Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria section of Understanding WCAG 2.0.