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Accessibility Basics Series Q&A – Page Structure

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Written by: Kim Phillips

Last week’s presentation in our Accessibility Basics Webinar Series covered best practices for page structure. Training Director Eric Lyons presented the webinar and has provided answers to the questions we received during Q&A – both those that were answered during the webinar and those we weren’t able to get to during the allotted time.

What is the rule for character limit for the meta title?

//EL: 150 characters us the desired limit per the W3C

Are page title standards also applicable to pop-up pages?

//EL: If you have a new HTML page that is popping up, title applies. For <div>s, you should have an applicable label attached to it. We will cover labels in the ARIA webinar on July 7th.

Must the page title match the H1 of a web page?

//EL: No it does not. But it often tends to match.

What is the recommendation for dealing with iFrames in regards to page structure and title elements?

//EL: iFrames should be labeled as well. The title attribute can be used for frames

Which page title order is more usable? “Breaking News | CNN” or “CNN – Breaking News”?

//EL: They are both fine. Screen readers should recognize both characters.

So there’s no way to know if you have implicit titles unless you have an assistive reader, is that right?

//EL: You can use some browser accessibility tools to generate the headings, and check to see if you have them tagged appropriately. Example, the Firefox Accessibility toolbar will tell you the list of headings, and you can use it to match up with what you have visually.

If a website doesn’t ever use h1 and uses h2 as the upper-level heading, is that an accessibility issue as long as the headings are always used in the proper order? ie h3 below h2, just no h1s used anywhere?

//EL: Best practice is to have an h1, with the subsequent h’s below it. Removing an h1 may confuse AT users, as they may be expecting it, and think they have missed something. That’s the same reason for making sure that the headings are ordered properly.

Are there guidelines for mark up/structure for the site’s logo/name? So would h1 be used for CNN on each page, or h1 be used for the News Story of that page and CNN should be something else?

//EL: CNN would be used as the logo, with alternative text. H1 would be “Breaking News” with individual news stories being the H2s

I thought the navigation menu should be the last thing read on a page. Is this correct?

//EL: The navigation menu should be at the top of the page. It doesn’t have to be the first thing read, but if it’s at the bottom, users won’t get to it until they read through the whole page.

Would a screen reader recgonize code which depend on formatting? eg. Python using indentation as structure?

//EL: No. SR are looking at the code, and not actual formatting

What is the lang attribute for spanish?

//EL: “es”

If there is an acronym enclosed in Parenthesis, e.g. (ATA), what can the user define to get the reader to read the characters, not phonetically sound it out.

//EL: I’m not sure. It would depend on how the screen reader is set up. (ATA) would be read out phonetically as ah-tah.

You said Section 508 specifically indicates that you must have properly ordered headings. Which criteria states that? 

//EL: The best practices I discussed are SSB best practices, which are mapped to Section 508 standards. The standard this best practice is mapped to is 1194.21: (d) Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requiring an associated style sheet.

What is the heading structure in mobile?

//EL: Mobile and web would be the same. We’re just talking about HTML. For native applications, there are ways to associate text with heading structure. We don’t cover that in this webinar series.

I was going to use H3 code to make quotes stand out, should I use HTML instead?

//EL: Yes. I would use HTML. You used to be able to use the <blockquote> tag, but that has become deprecated. You can use CSS to make it stand out.

Isn’t there specific code for English pages translated into Spanish. If so what is it?

//EL: As far as I know, if you are converting your entire page into Spanish, you would want to put the lang=”es” attribute in the head of your HTML.

Does the <tr> need to be replaced by <div>?

//EL: Another attendee had a good response to this question: <tr> is table code. It is required. <div> has no actual page framework existence.

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