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Accessibility rule: Content missing after heading, explained

Modified on: Wed, 15 Feb, 2023 at 10:58 AM

Headings are used for structuring content in a logical way. When accessing a web page, users often skim headings first to understand the content on a page. They may do this using vision or screen reading software. The heading hierarchy helps all users to know where to start and how content sections relate to one another.

A heading is meant to be a phrase or sentence at the beginning of a written passage explaining what it's about. Therefore, if there is no content relating to the heading, it may cause the user to think that the content may be hidden. The user may also wonder if the heading level was applied correctly, to begin with. 

Who is impacted by this barrier?

In particular, screen reader users are impacted by the barrier as they cannot rely on the visual presentation of the page.

How does the rule work?

This rule uses heading levels to determine if a content section is missing in the following cases: 

  • Content is missing between headings of the same level such as <h2>  followed by <h2>
  • Content is missing between a heading followed by a heading of a higher level such as <h4>  followed by an <h2>  
  • The heading at the end of the document is not followed by content.

You can read more about the rule in the technical documentation here.

Note that this rule is not required for conformance to any accessibility requirements.

How to fix the issue?

Add relevant content after the relevant heading or change the heading structure.

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