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Multiple <h?> hierarchies on a page

P: n/a
Different pages on a web site can vary in the level of header to which they
descend. One short page may have only <h1>, or <h1> and <h2>. Another,
detailed page, might get all the way down to <h6>.

Maybe the site's page also display common sidebars with their own
hierarchies, such as "In the News" block divided into two or three sections
("Nation", "World", "Metro") of two or three short clips each, each ending
with a link to the full story.

What heading tags are applicable to "In the News" and its subheadings? A
theory that has come to my mind is that if a page is divided into several
sections, each warrants its own hierarchy. Where does each hierarchy start,
though? I thought of <h1>, but even on a divided page, the main heading at
the top really encompasses everything on the page. So maybe <h2> would be
applicable to the "In the News" heading.

But suppose this starts as a small, unhierarchical site, and as it expands,
it is revised to divide it into sections, each identified by its own <h2>
heading that appears on its pages underneath the site-wide <h1> heading. But
if that happens, and I had used <h2> for the top heading of my sidebars, nav
bars, and the like, should I globally demote by on elevel the headings in
all the sidebars across my site?

As a side note, CSS would take care of different rendering approaches for,
say, <h3>s in sidebars versus <h3>s in the main page content, etc.

--
Harlan Messinger
Remove the first dot from my e-mail address.
Veuillez ôter le premier point de mon adresse de courriel.

Jul 20 '05 #1
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10 Replies


P: n/a
On Thu, 29 Jan 2004 10:45:53 -0500, Harlan Messinger
<h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:
What heading tags are applicable to "In the News" and its subheadings? A
theory that has come to my mind is that if a page is divided into several
sections, each warrants its own hierarchy. Where does each hierarchy
start,
though? I thought of <h1>, but even on a divided page, the main heading
at
the top really encompasses everything on the page. So maybe <h2> would be
applicable to the "In the News" heading.


My rule of thumb here is this - what will it look like unstyled?

Your main heading on the page is h1. Then you'll have several sections of
the page. For example, site navigation, main content, sidebar. These all
get h2's. Then break these sections into h3 and so on.

This provides a really uniform and structured look in a text browser, and
you can style it up crazy-go-nuts with CSS.
Jul 20 '05 #2

P: n/a
Forgot one...

On Thu, 29 Jan 2004 10:45:53 -0500, Harlan Messinger
<h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:
...
if that happens, and I had used <h2> for the top heading of my sidebars,
nav
bars, and the like, should I globally demote by on elevel the headings in
all the sidebars across my site?


Yep, that's what I would do. Provided what was the h2 on the composite
page is now the main identifying heading on the new page.
Jul 20 '05 #3

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:

Maybe the site's page also display common sidebars with their own
hierarchies, such as "In the News" block divided into two or three
sections ("Nation", "World", "Metro") of two or three short clips
each, each ending with a link to the full story.

What heading tags are applicable to "In the News" and its
subheadings?


If the sidebar is navigation, with links to other pages/sections of
the site, I don't think it should get any heading. Headings are to
divide up the content of the document, not to highlight the sidebar.
Only if the page is about news, or is a links page, should it get a
heading.

--
Brian (follow directions in my address to email me)
http://www.tsmchughs.com/

Jul 20 '05 #4

P: n/a
On Fri, 30 Jan 2004 03:10:51 GMT, Brian
<us*****@julietremblay.com.invalid-remove-this-part> wrote:
Harlan Messinger wrote:

Maybe the site's page also display common sidebars with their own
hierarchies, such as "In the News" block divided into two or three
sections ("Nation", "World", "Metro") of two or three short clips
each, each ending with a link to the full story.

What heading tags are applicable to "In the News" and its
subheadings?


If the sidebar is navigation, with links to other pages/sections of
the site, I don't think it should get any heading. Headings are to
divide up the content of the document, not to highlight the sidebar.
Only if the page is about news, or is a links page, should it get a
heading.

Not even in the unstyled version? I would think it'd be wise to have some
means of letting the user know that this particular list of links is for
site navigation, and since that doesn't normally fit under the category of
other parts of the page an <h2> would be reasonable.

Of course, if the style of the nav area is clear, the <h2> could be hidden
in the styled page.
Jul 20 '05 #5

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:


What heading tags are applicable to "In the News" and its
subheadings?


You could do it like this:

<h1>Headings Dot Com</h1>

<h2>Headings - How do I write them?</h2>

<h3>Keeping Right Nesting</h3>

<h3>Validating</h3>

<h2>Headings - How Clients Make use of it</h2>

<h3>Popular implementations</h3>

<h2>Related: HTML in the news</h2>

<h3>Tim Berners Lee now Sir</h3>

<h3>HTML1 Discovered in the Tim's attic</h3>
Another approach to above would obviously be to re-start with <h1>.
Some people might tell you <h1> should only appear once within a page
though. But even ISO-HTML allows multiple AFAIK.
But maybe you should ask yourself why you mix up different pages?
Mostly it will just be clutter people are blind to anyway. If something
deserves its own page, then put it on its own page. E.g. imagine
someone is referring to your article and he points someone else to it,
how would they be able to locate it on the page if it's just a
side-bar? Or if you're being referred to your site from a search
engine? Just something to think about it, I'm not saying informational
side-bars are always bad or shouldn't be experimented with (e.g. I kind
of like the idea of a mini-blog like BoingBoing's right bar).

Jul 20 '05 #6

P: n/a

"Philipp Lenssen" <in**@outer-court.com> wrote in message
news:bv************@ID-203055.news.uni-berlin.de...
Harlan Messinger wrote:


What heading tags are applicable to "In the News" and its
subheadings?
You could do it like this:

<h1>Headings Dot Com</h1>

<h2>Headings - How do I write them?</h2>

<h3>Keeping Right Nesting</h3>

<h3>Validating</h3>

<h2>Headings - How Clients Make use of it</h2>

<h3>Popular implementations</h3>

<h2>Related: HTML in the news</h2>

<h3>Tim Berners Lee now Sir</h3>

<h3>HTML1 Discovered in the Tim's attic</h3>
Another approach to above would obviously be to re-start with <h1>.
Some people might tell you <h1> should only appear once within a page
though. But even ISO-HTML allows multiple AFAIK.


Right, this would be an example of where a question of best practices is
beyond the scope of a standard. I'm reasonably well convinced that the
number one header on the page is unique and "reigns" over all the content
and boxes over the rest of the page.


But maybe you should ask yourself why you mix up different pages?
Mostly it will just be clutter people are blind to anyway. If something
deserves its own page, then put it on its own page.
I didn't say I was talking about something that deserved to be on it's own
page. Are you unfamiliar with sites that have common elements that appear on
all pages, or all pages within an area, to make it easy to find one's way
around without having to return to a main menu every time one wants to see
something else? And do you not find it helpful, when presenting an article
or a document, to be shown some related information that is outside of the
scope of the article?
E.g. imagine
someone is referring to your article and he points someone else to it,
how would they be able to locate it on the page if it's just a
side-bar?
If you are blind, how do you locate *anything* on a page beyond the first
word? You have to listen to the whole thing until you hear the part you're
looking for. Whether the page includes one single article or several
different pieces of information has no bearing on that.

On the other hand, there *is* a way to help blind users locate a particular
section of your page if the page is divided up into logical units. You
provide internal links to them, more or less hiding them from visual
browsers, at the very top of the page. You can hyperlink one-pixel images
with meaningful ALT text, or you can put the links on an absolutely
positioned DIV with a negative z-index.

Or if you're being referred to your site from a search
engine?
What about it? I don't understand. If content is on a page and the search
engine finds it, what does it matter whether it's the page's main content or
one of several side blocks on it.
Just something to think about it, I'm not saying informational
side-bars are always bad or shouldn't be experimented with (e.g. I kind
of like the idea of a mini-blog like BoingBoing's right bar).


Jul 20 '05 #7

P: n/a
"Harlan Messinger" <h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:
"Philipp Lenssen" <in**@outer-court.com> wrote in message
news:bv************@ID-203055.news.uni-berlin.de...

E.g. imagine
someone is referring to your article and he points someone else to it,
how would they be able to locate it on the page if it's just a
side-bar?


If you are blind, how do you locate *anything* on a page beyond the first
word? You have to listen to the whole thing until you hear the part you're
looking for. Whether the page includes one single article or several
different pieces of information has no bearing on that.


The ability to take all the Hx elements and construct an outline of
the page already exists in some browsers (particularly those aimed at
the visually impaired). Using such a tool your blind user could listen
to the outline and then jump to the section they wanted.

Steve

--
"My theories appal you, my heresies outrage you,
I never answer letters and you don't like my tie." - The Doctor

Steve Pugh <st***@pugh.net> <http://steve.pugh.net/>
Jul 20 '05 #8

P: n/a
"Harlan Messinger" <h.*********@comcast.net> writes:
If you are blind, how do you locate *anything* on a page beyond the first
word? You have to listen to the whole thing until you hear the part you're
looking for.


Actually, no. IBM Home Page Reader (the one audio browser that I've
actually found easy to use with the monitor off) has a number of page
reading modes.

Reading a heading at a time is one of them - once you hear an
interesting one, just switch back to normal reading mode and continue.

--
Chris
Jul 20 '05 #9

P: n/a

"Steve Pugh" <st***@pugh.net> wrote in message
news:rl********************************@4ax.com...
"Harlan Messinger" <h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:
"Philipp Lenssen" <in**@outer-court.com> wrote in message
news:bv************@ID-203055.news.uni-berlin.de...

E.g. imagine
someone is referring to your article and he points someone else to it,
how would they be able to locate it on the page if it's just a
side-bar?


If you are blind, how do you locate *anything* on a page beyond the first
word? You have to listen to the whole thing until you hear the part you'relooking for. Whether the page includes one single article or several
different pieces of information has no bearing on that.


The ability to take all the Hx elements and construct an outline of
the page already exists in some browsers (particularly those aimed at
the visually impaired). Using such a tool your blind user could listen
to the outline and then jump to the section they wanted.


Well, true. So in that case it *is* helpful to have sidebars and so forth
including in the header hierarchy.

Jul 20 '05 #10

P: n/a
Steve Pugh wrote:
"Harlan Messinger" <h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:
"Philipp Lenssen" <in**@outer-court.com> wrote in message
news:bv************@ID-203055.news.uni-berlin.de...

E.g. imagine
someone is referring to your article and he points someone else to it, >> how would they be able to locate it on the page if it's just a side-bar?


If you are blind, how do you locate anything on a page beyond the
first word? You have to listen to the whole thing until you hear
the part you're looking for. Whether the page includes one single
article or several different pieces of information has no bearing
on that.


If that'd be true (and web page readers might have the ability to jump
from heading to heading), what's the point? A non-blind user will still
be unlikely to find the content if it's in a sidebar. He might find it
if it's in the obvious content area.
Jul 20 '05 #11

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