Accessibility checking

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WCAG: Best Practice: Heading levels should only increase by one

Headings must be in a valid logical order, meaning h1 through h6 element tags must appear in a sequentially-descending order.

The underlying purpose of headers is to convey the structure of the page. For sighted users, the same purpose is achieved using different sizes of text. Text size, however, is not helpful for users of screen readers, because a screen reader identifies a header only if it is properly marked-up. When heading elements are applied correctly, the page becomes much easier to navigate for screen reader users and sighted users alike.

In the same way that sighted users can glance at a page and get a sense of its contents, users of screen readers can do the same by navigating through headings. Well written and properly ordered headings can save users, especially those who use screen readers, a lot of time and frustration.

The purpose of headings is to describe the structure of the webpage, not just highlight important text. They should be brief, clear, unique, and marked with h1 through h6 elements applied in hierarchical order. All of these qualities make headings valuable tools for screen reader users. Similar to the way sighted users can glance at a page and get a sense of its contents, screen reader users can navigate through headings. Well written and properly ordered headings can save screen reader time and frustration.

In addition to making the page more accessible, headings have other benefits since search engines use headings when filtering, ordering, and displaying results. Improving the accessibility of your site can also have the effect of making your page more findable.

Learn more about this accessibility rule at Deque University >>

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