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> HEADINGS, As much of a b*tch as a Question
UptonGirl
post Aug 26 2009, 12:04 AM
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But a question still.


Web standards demand that H1 be used only once per page.

The others may be used multiple times (if I understand correctly) but must be in order.

I can't see the reason in this. I presume there is one, and someone will know what it is. Hopefully someone who will explain it to me.

At the moment - it reminds me of some of my Bostonian childhood rules - such as under what circumstances a lady (read: any human female showing, or soon to show, any sign of puberty) must, or must not, wear gloves and what color, and length -- wrist length and white with only the slightest detail for the street, thank you.

Common conversation with my 20-something son - who was raised in a semi-rural hippie-esque world:

Son, looking at old snapshots:

QUOTE
Mom, you're in a sleeveless dress here, so it wasn't cold. But, you have on gloves! Why gloves? Was there something wrong with your hands?


Me:

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No, dear - it was just the mid-60's in Boston.


Son:

QUOTE
Huh?



That's the b* part - now the question:

WHY?

If I like a size or style I have set for a heading - and want to use it in a spot that is "out of order" what's the problem? Yes, I can recreate the style with a css tag. But again why?

I understand this hierarchy is custom - but does it have a function? If so, what is it?

This post has been edited by UptonGirl: Aug 26 2009, 12:07 AM


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Christian J
post Aug 26 2009, 08:19 AM
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QUOTE(UptonGirl @ Aug 26 2009, 07:04 AM) *

Web standards demand that H1 be used only once per page.

Where do they say that?

QUOTE
The others may be used multiple times (if I understand correctly) but must be in order.

More specifically, they should be in a logical order. Like http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/struct/global.html#edef-H1 says,

"Some people consider skipping heading levels to be bad practice. They accept H1 H2 H1 while they do not accept H1 H3 H1 since the heading level H2 is skipped."

(BTW note how the example contains two H1 elements). OTOH the hiearchy is still retained even with H1 H3 H1, since H3 is lower in hiearchy than H1, but an order like H3 H2 H1 seems illogical.

QUOTE
I can't see the reason in this. I presume there is one, and someone will know what it is. Hopefully someone who will explain it to me.

Here's a discussion: http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=531406

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a lady (read: any human female showing, or soon to show, any sign of puberty)

That's structure.

QUOTE
must, or must not, wear gloves and what color, and length -- wrist length and white with only the slightest detail for the street, thank you.

That's presentation. tongue.gif A better example might be an ordinary citizen in uniform pretending to be a police officer (which is a crime), or a police officer in civilian clothes working under cover (which is legal but confusing). Being a police officer is structure, wearing a uniform is presentation.

QUOTE
If I like a size or style I have set for a heading - and want to use it in a spot that is "out of order" what's the problem?

Sounds like your priorities are wrong. E.g., you shouldn't use a H1 for a sub-section only because it looks nice (see below).

QUOTE
Yes, I can recreate the style with a css tag. But again why?

I understand this hierarchy is custom - but does it have a function? If so, what is it?

HTML elements are meant for structure and/or semantical purposes. E.g., for a search engine or a blind user an H1 element with a small font size is still an H1 element (the most important header), and shouldn't be used for less important sub-sections. A police officer will still be a police officer regardless of how he dress, but if he uses his uniform there will be less confusion.


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Darin McGrew
post Aug 26 2009, 02:08 PM
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I use headings in whatever way best fits the structure of the content. I haven't found a situation where more than one H1 was appropriate, but I have found situations where skipping levels was appropriate. Specifically, when I had a bunch of "items" that were grouped into sections, and some (but not all) sections were big enough to have sub-sections, I used the following hierarchy:

H1 : top-level heading for entire document
. . . H2 : section heading
. . . . . . H3 : sub-section heading (optional)
. . . . . . . . . H4 : item heading

This makes more sense to me than using H3 for some of the items, and using H4 for others.


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pandy
post Aug 26 2009, 02:50 PM
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Good, cause that's how I want to see it too. I mean, the importance of a heading must be the crucial thing. Otherways headings become almost like the numbered items in an ordered list. Or perhaps a nested one. Hm.


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UptonGirl
post Aug 28 2009, 07:50 PM
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Okay, all interesting, all helpful.

As for this question:



QUOTE

Web standards demand that H1 be used only once per page.

Where do they say that?



I don't recall - so my be mistaken -- I'll get back to you if I find it.


Now, the circumstance under which it bugs me: (totally made up examples)

I'm working on a site - and using a template. I have multiple pages on the same or similar topic (or sub-topic)

In print media, it makes sense to have a particular heading style begin the topic (chapter, or section) and then to have a complementary style (smaller version of font, not bolded, lower color saturation, something to make it clear it is related but "less than") for subsequent page or section headers that still belong in that "chapter."

So, let's say I have a website on the topic "Common Household Pets"

One "Chapter" would be on cats. Cats would be in H1

But there are many varieties of domestic cats. And, I don't want a page that scrolls forever. In this case, I'd also prefer not to have a long list of links (but that may be the 'proper' solution - not sure)

So, I have a page about cats in general. Then, I want to talk about varieties of cats, and sub-varieties of cats.

My outline start may look something like this:


DOMESTIC CATS (H1)

Common shorthair (h2)

blah blah blah

Common longhair (h2)

blah blah blah


-----------

I now have a page that scrolls as far as I'm willing to let it (when it comes to cats, there's a lot to "blah" about.)

But now, I want to discuss hairless cats. That's going to be on the next page. I don't want to repeat the heading DOMESTIC CATS (H1) - and I do want the section header Hairless cats to match Common shorthair (h2) and Common longhair (h2)

One way around it all would be to use a text image for the words DOMESTIC CATS and, presuming it's really not bad form to use H1 repeatedly, make all my category headings H1

I can imagine other ways as well - but it's true my notions of how these things should look come from print or PDF rather than HTML standards.

I've yet to read the articles linked - they may answer my question. I'll get back to this thread if they don't - or even if they do. I'm happy to hear what else anyone has to say on this.

And Darin, I like your reasoning, but here is the question it bring up:

Is it okay to have a page that does not have any H1 heading, but does have h2, h3 and so on? If so, that solves my problem completely. I would define "entire document" in my example either as the Common Household Pets or DOMESTIC CATS - depending on a couple of factors, mostly site size.

PS: I'm ill, and have been for a while - my head's a bit fuzzed. Forgive me if that shows too badly.

This post has been edited by UptonGirl: Aug 28 2009, 08:09 PM


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Darin McGrew
post Aug 28 2009, 08:26 PM
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I'd either put it all one one page, or I'd split it into one page per section. I'd avoid putting a couple sections on one page, and a couple sections on another page.

If it is all on one page, then I'd use H1, H2, etc. as described above.

If it's split onto multiple pages, then I'd use H1 for "DOMESTIC CATS" on the main TOC page, and then I'd use H1 for the chapter headings on the individual pages ("Common shorthair", "Common longhair", "Hairless cats", etc.), and I'd include some other indication (e.g., breadcrumb links) that each document is part of a larger collection.


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