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H5 tags coming before the H1

 5:28 pm on Aug 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

I'm currently working on a project to modify the open source Mediawiki software and blend it seamlessly into my own site design. However, I've hit a wall with something and there are two H5 tags coming before the main H1 tag. Is this acceptable. Is there something wrong with this is I leave it as it is because I'm struggling to fix it.



 5:36 pm on Aug 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's fine. I would not worry about it unless the <H1> is very deep in the doucument.


 11:42 pm on Aug 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

It's not exactly sensible from a semantic viewpoint. Why would a sub-sub-sub-sub-topic come before the main topic?

Sounds like someone was using the H tags for their formatting value instead of for semantic information, as they are intended. While there may not be "problems" with either browsers or search engines, it's still better to straighten that out and use CSS to format the text.


 11:44 pm on Aug 12, 2008 (gmt 0)

I really don't think it is acceptable. Also, why is that an <h5>. Few sites have the depth to travel into <h4> thru <h6> territory.

A topic from 2002 discussing this very issue...

H1 Tag: What W3C says about it
Quite nice to hear it from the authority


 12:13 am on Aug 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

I wanted to add one more thing to this. If the structure of your headings isn't in the proper order, it breaks the flow of the document and also the semantics.

I've been testing WebmasterWorld and other resources that I visit frequently on my PDA. I have one of those Verizon Smart Phones. I should have waited and got an iPhone. :)

Anyway, many sites I visited were near impossible to navigate due to their incorrect use of html elements. I had to do a lot of scrolling up and down to find what I was looking for. Bad designer, bad, bad!

So, be very careful in how you structure your page from top to bottom. Having elements ordered incorrectly can have an adverse impact on your page meaning and rendering in certain devices.

Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0
W3C Recommendation 29 July 2008

^ This might even be a good topic by itself. ;)


 5:12 am on Aug 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Thanks everyone... if anyone's interested in looking at this issue BTW, it's the 'modern' skin supplied with the Mediawiki download and I've now made it look just like my own website... just trying to fix this H5 problem.


 5:51 am on Aug 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Actually, I've attacked this with a blunt instrument. I just removed the two instances of the php from the template that were invoking these H5's...

<h5><?php $this->msg('views') ?></h5>
<h5><?php $this->msg('personaltools') ?></h5>

... I've no idea what they're for and they didn't even seem to appear on the page, even though they're in the rendered page source. Removing them doesn't seem to have broken anything either.


 2:50 pm on Aug 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

Headings absolutely must be in order:


If they really are H5, then they should have a relevant H4; which has a relevant H3 and a relevant H2 below the H1.

Provided that the H5 is justified, then put it into the correct position in the source, and then move it into the design location at the top by position:absolute.


 6:48 pm on Aug 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

About 'an absolute must' and 'semantic meaning'... of course we should be worried about H1 at the beginning of a page, but... the guess is it plays a role for SEO (may be!).

You don't need to do a lot of modifications; content could be dynamically generated (for instance, portal-like products). Just put main site title inside H1, at the beginning of a page (if you believe it will make sense for SE)


 7:18 pm on Aug 13, 2008 (gmt 0)

(if you believe it will make sense for SE)

Ah, but it goes a bit deeper than just thinking of the SE. Let's set aside the intrinsic SEO value for a moment.

I've been doing a bit of research and testing using various devices to browse the web and have been for years. Just recently due to my dive into Social Media, I wanted to do further testing from a mobile environment. Those sessions have confirmed everything I've been following for years at the W3, WebmasterWorld and other fora/communities.

Page structure is "very important" in this new age era of SEO. It really is back to the basics in many instances. I look at it like starting off with a blank piece of 8.5 x 11.0 paper. That's me Table of Contents. If I follow what a page looks like in a mobile browser based on headings, lists, cascades, etc., much of the web is broken to the nth degree. Browsing sites with tag soup with no respect given to structure is a nightmare to say the least. If that is happening with my mobile browser, what happens with the bots? Aren't they at the same intelligence level? ;)

Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0
W3C Recommendation 29 July 2008


 10:29 am on Aug 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

I just realised the the Mediawiki css file prevents H5's from appearing in your browser with disply: none; in the css file... why would they do that. Why use H5, put something in it and then stop it displaying? I don't get it.


 10:44 am on Aug 14, 2008 (gmt 0)

If you believe semantics is a valid argument against using tables - then phones (especially cell phones which are made to be compact w/ tiny screens) should not be used to browse the internet! Nor tv! The internet was made for large computers, not handheld devices. The fact that they cannot handle displaying a page the same way a computer can is evidence of this.

Unless a site is being built specifically to support mobile users, there's no need to go out of your way to support them. The same goes for those using screen-readers - unless you have a site that would have a high chance of being accessed by someone with a screen-reader, there's no need to go out of your way to support them. I'm not against assisting the disabled or anything - to the contrary - but time is money and wasting it on a demographic that isn't going to visit your site is foolish business sense.

As for bots, I believe that they are much smarter than that. While definitely not human, they've spent many many years developing and refining the various algorithms that go into finding and categorizing websites - and they did it/do it inspite of the fact that the vast majority of websites use layout tables - and even nested tables.

Finally - while I haven't been able to test it myself as I have no screen-reader, I've been looking through accessibility standards recently. It does not ban the use tables for layout - but requires simply that they degrade into an understandable format. This is a bit easier to accomplish with css as you tend to put down your content in a degraded form first before applying styles - so you know its safe. However, if you are using a simple table for layout - then there's no issue so long as you understand how the table degrades. It might not have the advantage of putting content first - but I never liked that setup anyways as it voids the html file of any structural meaning and puts all of the burden on your css file.

Structure should be separate from style and content!



 6:43 pm on Aug 14, 2008 (gmt 0)


Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0

Thanks for your input, I didn't know that h1 has predefined role for some browser types. Not only that: Usability&Accessibility, there are visually impaired users too who uses specific devices... I don't think main topic is mobile-web related.

[validator.w3.org ]

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