element is used to indicate the most important (or highest-level) heading
on the page.
In total, we have six heading levels to choose
h6—to add structure to
the web page.
h1 is the highest heading level (and, by
default, the largest in terms of font size) and
lowest (and smallest).
A document’s first heading should be an
h1, followed by one or more
headings; each of these
h2 headings can then have a
further series of
h3 headings below them, and so on,
right on down to heading level 6. The HTML 4 spec states that heading
levels should not be skipped (that is, you shouldn’t have a series of
headings in the order
h4, which skips the
h3 entirely), although it isn’t always possible to
guarantee such rigidity in the markup, particularly if your pages are
generated by a CMS. However, this goal is certainly one for which you
Headings add semantic richness to a document, which can help with search engines’ understanding of the makeup of that document, and provide users of assistive devices (such as screen readers) with an additional—and quick—method by which to navigate through a document: they can skip from heading to heading.
Figure 1 shows a comparison of the six heading levels in a fictional web site, as rendered by Firefox’s default browser style sheet.
The document outline, showing the heading levels, is clear to see using Firefox’s Web Developer extension (via that tool’s Information > View Document Outline command), as shown in Figure 2.
is used to present a fluffy welcome message:
<h1>Welcome to OmniUberMegaCorp's Web Site</h1>
Use This For …
This element may contain any text content, but it can’t include any block-level elements: only inline or phrase elements can be included.
There are no
compatibility issues with the
h1 element—all browsers
listed support it.
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