ARIA: heading role
heading role defines this element as a heading to a page or section, with the
aria-level attribute providing for more structure.
The heading role indicates to assistive technologies that this element should be treated like a heading. Screen readers would read the text and indicate that it is formatted like a heading. In addition, the level tells assistive technologies which part of the page structure this heading represents. A level 1 heading, indicated with
aria-level="1", usually indicates the main heading of a page, a level 2 heading, defined with
aria-level="2" the first subsection, a level 3 is a subsection of that, and so on.
<div role="heading" aria-level="1">This is a main page heading</div>
This defines the text in the
<div> to be the main heading of the page, indicated by being level 1 via the
aria-level attribute. Opt for using the h1 (thru h6) element instead.
<h1>This is a main page heading</h1>
Associated WAI-ARIA roles, states, and properties
aria-levelattribute specifies the heading level in the document structure. If no level is present, a value of 2 is the default.
This role does not require any special keyboard navigation. As with any heading, giving it an ID ensures it can be referenced from anchor links, making it accessible via the keyboard.
- Required event handlers
- Changing attribute values
Usually not required, unless dynamically inserting content. In that case, the newly-added headings need
aria-levelattributes whose values are consistent with the rest of the document structure.
The following shows a typical page structure.
<div id="container"> <div role="heading" aria-level="1">The main page heading</div> <p>This article is about showing a page structure.</p> <div role="heading" aria-level="2">Introduction</div> <p>An introductory text.</p> <div role="heading" aria-level="2">Chapter 1</div> <p>Text</p> <div role="heading" aria-level="3">Chapter 1.1</div> <p>More text in a sub section.</p> </div>
However, instead, you should do:
<div id="container"> <h1>The main page heading</h1> <p>This article is about showing a page structure.</p> <h2>Introduction</h2> <p>An introductory text.</p> <h2>Chapter 1</h2> <p>Text</p> <h3>Chapter 1.1</h3> <p>More text in a sub section.</p> </div>
aria-labelledby will hide the content of your heading from assistive technologies, reading the label instead of the heading.
If you must use the
heading role and
aria-level attribute, do not go over level 6 so that you are consistent with HTML. Although theoretically you can go higher, and some screen readers may support it, the results can be unpredictable with other browser and screen reader combinations.
The best way to use this role is to not use it at all, and instead use the native heading tags h1 through h6 as shown in the example above. The
heading role and
aria-level attribute should only be used to retrofit accessibility on legacy code that you cannot make major changes to.
Instead of using the ARIA
heading role, use the semantic HTML element:
|Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) |
|ARIA Authoring Practices |
The heading role overrides the native semantic meaning of the element it is being used for. The
aria-level attribute, in addition, determines what level of heading is being exposed.