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.


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 criterion 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.


  • Descriptive headings are especially helpful for users who have disabilities that make reading slow and for people with limited short-term memory. These people benefit when section titles make it possible to predict what each section contains.
  • Form input controls with labels that clearly describe the content that is expected to be entered helps users know how to successfully complete the form.
  • When headings and labels are also correctly marked up and identified in accordance with 1.3.1: Info and Relationships, this Success Criterion helps people who use screen readers by ensuring that labels and headings are meaningful when read out of context, for example, in an automatically generated list of headings/table of contents, or when jumping from heading to heading within a page.


  • A news site.

    The home page of a news site lists the headlines for the top stories of the hour. Under each heading are the first 35 words of the story and a link to the full article. Each headline gives a clear idea of the article's subject.

  • A guide on how to write well

    A guide on writing contains the following section titles: How To Write Well, Cut Out Useless Words, Identify Unnecessary Words, etc. The section headings are clear and concise and the structure of the information is reflected in the structure of the headings.

  • Consistent headings in different articles

    A Web site contains papers from a conference. Submissions to the conference are required to have the following organization: Summary, Introduction, [other sections unique to this article], Conclusion, Author Biography, Glossary, and Bibliography. The title of each Web page clearly identifies the article it contains, creating a useful balance between the uniqueness of the articles and the consistency of the section headings.

  • A form asking the name of the user

    A form asks the name of the user. It consists of two input fields to ask for the first and last name. The first field is labeled "First name", the second is labeled "Last name"."

Related Resources

Resources are for information purposes only, no endorsement implied.


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

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

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