Digital Accessibility Index: Learn where the world’s leading brands fall short on accessibility.

See Report

Easy Guide to Accessible Headings

Headings are fundamental to the structure and accessibility of content

This one-page guide is packed with the information you need to understand and apply best practices for headings.

What's Inside

  • How headings make content easier to understand
  • How screen reader users navigate by headings
  • Why heading levels should be sequential
  • Why headings should be consistent
  • Importance of using semantic heading elements
  • And so much more!

Headings organize and provide helpful context to content

Headings make content easier to understand and faster to navigate.

When headings are used thoughtfully and consistently, people can quickly understand the outline of digital content and find their desired information.

To make sure everyone can use and benefit from headings, a few accessibility considerations are needed. This one-page resource will help you create more effective and more accessible content.

WCAG requires that headings are correctly marked up

Headings are addressed in multiple Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) success criteria.

One of the most important and common issues with headings on the web is when false or artificial headings are used. Many times, designers or developers will position headings in a logical place and will make them visually stand out — styled with unique, large, or bold font — but will fail to tag them as proper headings in the code.

When this happens, there is a mismatch between the visual presentation and the inherent semantics of the code. Screen reader users gain no benefit from stylized text. Instead, they require that heading elements are coded accordingly, wrapped in heading tags, such as <h1> and <h2>.

Meeting this standard is a requirement for WCAG conformance, as is ensuring headings are clear and descriptive.

Anyone can help make headings more accessible — no technical skill required

Whether you’re a content writer, product owner, or anyone else with the opportunity to influence digital content, you can help make the information more usable with little-to-no technical know-how.

By simply asking if content could be made clearer by using headings, you may prompt a change that makes the material look and feel more complete while making it more accessible. By asking for clarification — or even providing recommendations on — the levels of the heading structure, you might help prevent a confusing or inefficient experience.

Your free accessible headings guide will help you keep best practices in mind.

Download the Free Checklist