Multiple hierarchies on a page

Giganews Newsgroups
Subject: Multiple <h?> hierarchies on a page
Posted by:  Harlan Messinger (h.messing…
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2004

Different pages on a web site can vary in the level of header to which they
descend. One short page may have only <h1>, or <h1> and <h2>. Another,
detailed page, might get all the way down to <h6>.

Maybe the site's page also display common sidebars with their own
hierarchies, such as "In the News" block divided into two or three sections
("Nation", "World", "Metro") of two or three short clips each, each ending
with a link to the full story.

What heading tags are applicable to "In the News" and its subheadings? A
theory that has come to my mind is that if a page is divided into several
sections, each warrants its own hierarchy. Where does each hierarchy start,
though? I thought of <h1>, but even on a divided page, the main heading at
the top really encompasses everything on the page. So maybe <h2> would be
applicable to the "In the News" heading.

But suppose this starts as a small, unhierarchical site, and as it expands,
it is revised to divide it into sections, each identified by its own <h2>
heading that appears on its pages underneath the site-wide <h1> heading. But
if that happens, and I had used <h2> for the top heading of my sidebars, nav
bars, and the like, should I globally demote by on elevel the headings in
all the sidebars across my site?

As a side note, CSS would take care of different rendering approaches for,
say, <h3>s in sidebars versus <h3>s in the main page content, etc.

Harlan Messinger
Remove the first dot from my e-mail address.
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