Newsletter 6

22 June, 2011

In this issue

  1. New Web Templates
  2. Tips for creating better Headings
  3. WAI-ARIA Landmarks
  4. Stat of the week

New Web Templates

The new UoM web templates are in the final stages of Beta development and will be released shortly.
A significant amount of work has been undertaken in order to ensure that the templates will be WCAG 2.0 AA compliant.
Publishers are encouraged to use the new templates in order to make their web sites more accessible.
A big thanks to Paul, Anthony and Toby from Marcoms for all their hard work and patience in making the templates standards compliant

Tips for creating better Headings

Here are my top ten tips for creating better web page headings:

  • By reading the headings alone, users should get a good idea of the page contents
  • Headings should be short and concise
  • Headings should only be used when followed by content
  • Headings should be mainly used for page specific content, rather than content which appears on every page
  • Heading tags should not be used to change font size or add emphasis.
  • Appearance and presentation of text should be controlled via CSS rather than heading tags
  • Heading levels can't be skipped i.e. you can't jump from <h2> to <h4>
  • The contents of tag is of moderate importance to search engines
  • Keywords in tags are of low importance to search engines, but are of key importance to screen reader users
  • Identification of structural elements of web pages, such as banners, menus and footers, are best achieved via the use of WAI-ARIA
  • Landmarks

WAI-ARIA Landmarks

ARIA landmark roles assist users of assistive technologies (AT) when navigating web pages by describing the type or purpose of content.
Whilst CSS is good at separating layout from presentation, the use of <div> tags doe's little to describe the purpose of areas of content.
Instead of having to tab through or listen to each section of a page, such as a banner, content and footer, to find out what it is about, ARIA landmarks allow users to navigate directly to the section they want.

The landmark roles are as follows:

  • application
  • banner
  • complementary
  • contentinfo
  • form
  • main
  • navigation
  • search

More information on ARIA landmark roles is available here

Information about how ARIA landmarks work with screen readers is available here

Stat of the week

  • 57% of screen reader users use headings to navigate the page, whereas on 8.5% read through the page.
  • 40% of screen reader users use ARIA landmarks sometimes or always.

Previous Issues

Previous issues of the Web Accessibility Newsletter are available here.

Contact Andrew Normand, Web Accessibility Program Leader
Phone: +61 3 9035 4867