Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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G141: Organizing a page using headings


Pages with content organized into sections.

This technique relates to:


The objective of this technique is to ensure that sections have headings that identify them. Success Criterion 1.3.1 requires that the headings be marked such that they can be programmatically identified.

In HTML, this would be done using the HTML heading elements (h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, and h6). These allow user agents to automatically identify section headings. Other technologies use other techniques for identifying headers. To facilitate navigation and understanding of overall document structure, authors should use headings that are properly nested (e.g., h1 followed by h2, h2 followed by h2 or h3, h3 followed by h3 or h4, etc.).


Example 1: Headings used to organize an HTML page

A page on cooking techniques uses a h1 element for the overall title, and h2 elements for major sections on cooking with oil vs cooking with butter, and h3 elements for sub-sections on oil-cooking techniques.

Example Code:

              <html xmlns="">
                <title>Cooking techniques</title>
                <h1>Cooking techniques</h1>
                ... some text here ...
                <h2>Cooking with oil</h2>
                ... text of the section ...
                <h3>Deep frying</h3>
                <h2>Cooking with butter</h2>
                ... text of the section ...


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  1. Examine a page with content organized into sections.

  2. Check that a heading for each section exists.

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.