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SharePoint Blog

May 20
Accessibility Tips: Writing Page Titles for Web Pages

Too often we tend to think of accessibility requirements as only a technical issue, but making a web site truly accessible is a mix of both technical implementation and content strategy. Both web developers and content authors need to understand not only how, but also why, we craft content in certain ways to make it more accessible to all users.

Well-written page titles help orient users to where they are on a site, as well as to where they want to go next, so it’s not surprising that page titles are the first item in the W3C’s Easy Checks accessibility review and that they are an important part of any discussion on writing for accessibility or developing a content strategy for accessible content. Pulling from all those sources, here are some guidelines that will not only improve your SharePoint site’s accessibility for people with disabilities, but also bring dividends in SEO and increase general usability for all users.

Show the page title in the window title bar of browsers

The SharePoint content placeholders and controls make this an easy requirement to meet. As long as the PlaceHolderPageTitle is properly nested between the <title> tags in the master page header, the page title entered by the content author will always be displayed in the title bar of that web page.​

Master Page head:

<title><asp:ContentPlaceHolder id="PlaceHolderPageTitle" runat="server"></title>

Page Layouts:

<asp:Content ContentPlaceholderID="PlaceHolderPageTitle" runat="server">

     <SharePointWebControls:FieldValue id="fvPageTitle" FieldName="Title" runat="server"/>

</asp:Content>​

Use headings to organize and show the structure of content

To ensure a logical hierarchy of content concepts, use the <h1> HMTL heading markup for the page title that is displayed in the content area of the web page. Again, SharePoint makes this easy to do consistently, rather than placing the burden on content authors to enter the page title text manually and select the appropriate markup.

Place Heading 1 markup around the PageTitleInTitleArea content placeholder on either the master page or on individual page layouts.

<h1 class=" page-title s4-notdlg">

<asp:ContentPlaceHolder id="PlaceHolderPageTitleInTitleArea" runat="server" />

</h1>

Page titles should clearly describe the page content or purpose

Editors and/or content authors should construct page titles that are clear and concise rather than clever, so that users can identify the most important content before seeing the page. Use key words that are meaningful to users and limit the titles to no more than 60-70 characters.

Front load content keywords

The important keywords should be at the beginning of the title where they can be easily seen in browser tabs or caught by users when they are skim-reading. If a section or site name is included to provide context, then that name should be placed at the end, after the page title text.

Ensure each title is unique

Check that the title is different from other pages on the website. Users should be able to readily distinguish this page from other web pages. 

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0

For more background on the specific accessibility guidelines being addressed by these tips, review these sections:

2.4.2 Page Titled: Web pages have titles that describe topic or purpose. (Level A)

2.4.6 Headings and Labels: Headings and labels describe topic or purpose. (Level AA)

1.3.1 Info and Relationships: Information, structure, and relationships conveyed through presentation can be programmatically determined or are available in text. (Level A)

H42: Using h1-h6 to identify headings

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