Using chapters, headings, and subheadings to organize content allows students to clearly see how the main concepts are related. Headings are also one of the main ways that students using a screen reader will navigate through a chapter.
Who Are You Doing This For?
Everyone benefits from having content that is clearly organized. In addition, well-organized content supports students who:
- Have a learning disability
- Are blind or have low vision
Headings help to identify the hierarchical structure of a document (e.g., sections, sub-sections). Headings provide a visual cue that helps sighted readers quickly navigate through sections of a document, skimming through content until they find a section they are looking for. Similarly, headings create logical divisions in the content and allow a non-sighted user to navigate a page or document easily using a screen reader.
When it comes to using visual references to indicate the hierarchy and structure of a document, you may be accustomed to just changing the font, enlarging the type size, making it bold or underlined or italicized, creating the impression of a heading. This approach presents problems when creating material with accessibility in mind because screen readers won’t identify the text as a heading. Instead, a screen reader will just “read” through bold or underlined text as if it were part of another paragraph of content, missing your intended cues about structure and organization.
To create effective, accessible headings in Pressbooks use styles in the visual editor to tag sections in your chapter starting with Heading 2, sub-sections with Heading 3, and sub-sections of sub-sections with Heading 4. The title of your chapter will be rendered to screen readers as Heading 1, therefore you should avoid using Heading 1 for sections within your chapter.