Accessibility checking

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WCAG: 1.3.1: Bold, italic text and font-size are not used to style <p> elements as a heading

Styled p elements must not be used to represent headings because the structure of the document cannot otherwise be determined by screen reader users.

The underlying purpose of headers is to convey the structure of the page. Sighted users can see structure by using different sizes of text. Screen reader users, though, require heading elements to be marked up explicitly. When heading elements are properly applied 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 in hierarchical order. All of these qualities make headings are a valuable tool for users of screen readers. 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.

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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