What the issue is
A common accessibility issue arises when web pages do not have adequately descriptive titles or when multiple pages in a website have the same or similar titles. This makes it difficult for users, especially those using screen readers, to understand the content or purpose of the page without reading through a significant portion of the content. It complicates navigation and orientation within the site for users relying on assistive technologies.
Why this is important
Page titles are crucial for web accessibility as they provide the first piece of content that users interact with. For users employing screen readers, a descriptive title can be the deciding factor in whether to engage with the page further or not. Furthermore, unique titles help users to bookmark pages for later use or reference. Therefore, having clear, descriptive, and distinct titles is pivotal for all users, especially for those with cognitive disabilities, to navigate and find content effectively.
Who it affects
This issue primarily affects:
- Users of screen readers or other assistive technologies who rely on page titles for understanding the context or navigating websites.
- Individuals with cognitive disabilities who benefit from clear and descriptive titles for better understanding and navigation.
- Anyone who uses web browsers' tab or history features to retrace their steps on a website or to switch between pages.
How to remediate the issue
- Ensure every web page has a unique title that describes the page content or function concisely. The
<title>tag should be placed within the
<head>section of the HTML document.
- Use meaningful titles that reflect the page’s content or purpose rather than generic titles like "Home" or "Page 1".
- On multi-page websites ensure that the page title descibes the page first, and then the site.
- For websites that contain multiple pages as part of a sequence (such as a multi-step form), include additional information in the title to reflect each page's step or position in the sequence
Guidance on creating adequately descriptive titles can be found at W3C Web Accessibility Tutorials on Page Titles.
WCAG success criteria at risk: Success Criterion 2.4.2 Page Titled (Level A)