Headings and labels: Impact on users

Clear visual headings and labels

Andi had an accident which resulted in a brain injury. They now find reading more difficult and struggle to retain and process information. When accessing online information, they find it helpful if there are clear headings which indicate what the content will be about, so that they can predict what the section will contain. This helps them remember the information better.

Andi also finds it difficult when filling in online forms. They find it much easier when clear instructions are provided to explain what information is required, especially if examples are given. Things like date and time fields cause particular challenges, as Andi is never sure what format is required without some kind of example.

When submitting forms, they often give up if there is an error identified, unless it is really clear why the error occurred and how they can fix it.

Correctly coded headings and labels

Jan has glaucoma which has caused her to gradually lose her sight over several years.

Although Jan initially used a screen magnifier, she has now started using a screen reader for most tasks.

When Jan could access webpages by sight, she would often skim read through headings to find the information she were interested in reading. She was pleased to learn that her screen reader could read all the headings in a similar way, so that she could navigate in the same way.

When headings have not been marked up correctly, this doesn’t work. When this happens, Jan is usually unable to use the website as the cognitive load is too much.

Jan is still new to using a screen reader. Tables are one of the things she finds most difficult. She often has to go over the information multiple times to make sense of it all.

Jan has noticed that some tables are easier to process than others, when the table headers are clear and the screen reader tells them whether it is the column or row that it relates to.