3.1: Website Structures and Content Relationships

Assessing Your Website Needs

Pages with well-structured content are essential for many web users. Assistive technology relies on semantic HTML markup. This is why it’s important to use the right element for the right job. Valid semantics create content that is usable and more meaningful to assistive technologies.

A usable website can help people with disabilities participate more actively in society. That is, people who cannot read print material and people who have difficulty going to a physical store or mall, can engage your business through a well designed web site.

Furthermore, what you do for accessibility overlaps with other best practices such as mobile web design, usability, and search engine optimization.

The objective of this lesson is to understand your web page structure, so that you can engage the accessibility specialist with competence.

Benefits of Semantic Page Structure

  • People with cognitive and learning disabilities can more easily find and prioritize content on the page.
  • People using screen readers can skip to the main content directly and navigate to sections that are important to them.
  • Keyboard users can browse pages and their sections more efficiently. Otherwise, users have to press the tab key multiple times to navigate through all links in each section.
  • People using software that only shows the main content of a web page, such as people with cognitive disabilities, will receive better results if the page structure is correctly marked up.
  • People with visual impairments, low vision and blind, have cues that provide orientation on the page and in the content.
  • Mobile web users often have access to a reader or reading mode that will only show the main content of the page if it is correctly marked up.
  • People using certain browser plugins can use landmark roles to jump to specific sections on a page.
  • There are additional benefits to a good, accessible page structure, beyond those experienced by people with disabilities. As an example, search engines can use the data to better index the content of a page.