Accessible Headings

Please note that using proper headings is one of the MOST IMPORTANT tools for screen reader users.

screen shot of a JAWS list of headings

The above image is what a screen reader user uses to navigate or scan a web page. Using proper headers makes this list possible.

Accessibility Standard for Headings

Content must be “Navigable” by all users. This requires landmarks to assist students that use screen readers to easily organize and scan a page.

The way to do this is to utilize headings and sub-headings on web pages. Headings are used to organize information into logical pieces and allow screen reader users to scan and navigate to specific parts of a page, just as a sighted user would do. Without proper headings, a screen reader doesn’t differentiate between various topics on a page. In order for a screen reader to see the headings and sub-headings they must be created using html code rather than basic formatting.

Faculty and Learning Design Responsibilities

Use properly formatted headings and sub-headings (rather than simply increasing font size) when working in Drupal. See directions below for details

How to Use Headings in Drupal

  • Organize your content
  • Highlight the heading text
  • Use the “Format” dropdown menu to select the heading level
  • Always start with a Heading 3
    • Heading 1 is used for the page title (this is done in the background. Content editors should never use Heading 1)
    • Heading 2 is used for page navigation (this is done in the background. Content editors should never use Heading 2)
    • Heading 3 denotes a top level content heading
    • Heading 4 denotes a sub-heading
  • Never skip a level
  • Use unique and descriptive text for headings
screen capture of Heading dropdown box in Drupal.
Use the Format dropdown box to select the proper headings


Additional Benefits (beyond the legal requirements)

Headings are required for students that use screen readers but are useful for all students. They:

  • Determine overall structure or outline of a document
  • Direct readers attention to important topics
  • Allow readers to scan a document

Additional Resources