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Accessibility rule: Page sections with the same name do not serve the same purpose, explained

Modified on: Wed, 15 Feb, 2023 at 10:59 AM

Landmarks are HTML elements intended to mark important sections of your page. Landmarks improve the navigation experience of your site significantly for users of assistive technology by allowing important content to be found quickly. This only works if the important sections on the page are named uniquely. For instance if the website has two different navigational structures with the same landmark, the landmarks should have different names to differentiate them from each other. 

Who is impacted by this barrier?

Using landmarks inconsistently is an issue for screen reader users. Just like with headings and links, screen readers can collect the landmarks and tell the user what is available on the page. This way the user can jump directly to the section they prefer, for instance, the footer.

How does the rule work?

The rule checks if a page contains two or more regions that have different purposes but use the same landmark and the same name. This could result in screen reader users not being able to find the content they are looking for.

Since automation alone is not able to detect if two sections have different purposes, this issue will only be a potential issue where user input is needed to confirm that the sections have different functions. The potential issue is called: “Do page sections with the same name serve the same purpose?”

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

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