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How to Optimize HTML Headings for Improved Accessibility

By October 20, 2023No Comments2 min read

Creating semantic HTML headings is crucial for website accessibility. Well-structured headings make content more readable for all users, and assistive technologies rely on them to navigate pages. This article provides web developers best practices for leveraging HTML headings.

Use Heading Tags Correctly

  • Use headings in sequential order (e.g. H1, H2, H3). Do not skip heading levels.
  • Only one H1 should be present per page as the main heading.
  • Lower headings like H3 should be under relevant higher headings like H2.

Reflect Document Structure 

  • Headings represent the outline and hierarchy of content.
  • Make headings descriptive of sections they introduce.
  • Avoid repetitive or vague headings like “Introduction”.

Keep Headings Succinct

  • Strive for headings under 60 characters.  
  • Use clear, concise phrasing describing the content.
  • Long headings can be difficult to interpret by screen readers.

Check Heading Sizes

  • Relative sizes between headings should visually reinforce hierarchy.
  • Avoid styling headings with equal or very similar font sizes.
  • Leverage CSS rather than HTML tags for font styling.

Validate Accessibility 

  • Use auditing tools like AllAccessible  to identify issues like skipped heading levels. 
  • Confirm accurate reading order of headings via screen reader testing.
  • Resolve warnings to maximize comprehension.

Applying HTML headings properly ensures content is logical and navigation is intuitive for all users. By making headings clear, hierarchical and semantically correct, you can optimize accessibility and SEO.

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