What the issue is
An issue occurs when different pages within the same website have identical titles. This can confuse users, particularly those using screen readers, as they may not be able to distinguish between pages based on their titles alone. This situation leads to difficulties in navigating the website and prevents users from using page titles to understand the context of the pages they are visiting, or understand the purpose of the page they have bookmarked.
Why this is important
Unique page titles play a crucial role in helping users navigate a website efficiently. They act as landmarks that users, especially those with visual impairments or cognitive disabilities, rely on to find information and orient themselves within the site. Duplicate titles strip away these navigational aids, making it harder to use the site effectively, to bookmark pages for later reference, or to use the browser's history function to return to a specific page.
Who it affects
This issue predominantly impacts:
- Users who rely on the auditory feedback from screen readers to differentiate between pages on a website.
- Individuals with cognitive disabilities who find navigation challenging without clear and distinct page titles.
- Users leveraging the browser's history and bookmarking features to navigate or return to specific content.
How to remediate the issue
- Check the website to ensure that each page has a unique title that reflects its content or purpose effectively. This can be achieved by reviewing the
<title>tags within the
<head>section of each HTML document.
- When similar content exists on multiple pages (such as items in a product catalog), append unique identifiers to the titles, such as product names or numbers, to differentiate them.
- Utilize meaningful and descriptive phrases that are specific to each page as titles, rather than relying on broad or vague terms that could apply to multiple pages.
Guidance on ensuring unique and descriptive titles is available at W3C Web Accessibility Tutorials on Page Titles.