2020-37 - Review of improved Service initiation template

Early incomplete thought on the pattern

From: @duboisp - November 12, 2019


From: Accessibility, Accommodations & Adaptative Computer Technology (AAACT) Program - January 7, 2020

Comments about the points raised.

I like the overall visual look

Strongly agreed.

Especially its image-free/bannerless layout made more sense to me. When a user needs to learn something, decorative images or rotating banners about various topics do nothing but slow the load time. They may be distracting as well.

Here is the speed test result by Google PageSpeed Insights for the first hyperlink. Page loads quickly.

Google insight of https://test.canada.ca/cra/section-menu-design/section-menu-index.html#wb-cont results at 87 out of 100

The responsive design works perfectly as well. (I particularly liked how the left and right arrows are located on smaller screens: left arrow on the left and right arrow on the right.)

Previous and next navigation button

I worry about the use of two heading level 1.


I know that HTML5 (the specification) support that pattern, but as far that I know browser still don’t support it or badly support it.

I researched this before. Apart from some best practice recommendations, I have no evidence to suggest that only one h1 should be used on the same page.

This passes the html validation checker:

HTML validator indicating no errors or warnings

An official guidance about headings mentions the correct nesting practices and recommends to avoid skipping levels, but there is no mention of the necessity of one single h1 in one page.

[Accessibility concerns Mozilla](https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTML/Element/Heading_Elements#Accessibility_concerns)
From Mozilla:

“A common navigation technique for users of screen reading software is jumping from heading to heading to quickly determine the content of the page. Because of this, it is important to not skip one or more heading levels. Doing so may create confusion, as the person navigating this way may be left wondering where the missing heading is.”

Don’t {::nomarkdown}

		<h1>Heading level 1</h1>
		<h3>Heading level 3</h3>
		<h4>Heading level 4</h4>


Do {::nomarkdown}

		<h1>Heading level 1</h1>
		<h2>Heading level 2</h2>
		<h3>Heading level 3</h3>


We need to keep in mind that we still need to support IE11. At my last check, last summer, IE11 represented more than 15% of all the traffic on Canada.ca

There seems to be no IE-related issues. I tested using IE11’s emulation tool and even IE6 seems to show everything almost the same, thanks to this css file: https://www.canada.ca/etc/designs/canada/wet-boew/css/ie8-theme.min.css

Of course, a real IE6 browser might show otherwise, but I guess designing for anything less than IE9 is unnecessary.

I understand the need of identifying uniformly a set of pages that belong to the same task. I think we should explore alternative markup that would create the same visual effect for desktop and mobile

I have a few idea and I think they will need to be prototyped too

Instead of starting with an h1, we could start with an h2 (“Overarching topic”) followed by an h3 for the enumeration of section (“Steps”) and then have the h1 (“Specific page name”)

(FAIL LEVEL A 1.3.1)


Use a paragraph for “Overarching topic” then an h2 for “Steps” and then the h1 (“Specific page name”)

The 2 ideas above are about using h1s later in the page. Although I could not find anything concrete against this usage, it will certainly create a tricky layout. Nesting the sections is the key here and I am afraid it will be prone to errors. Not starting with an h1 will puzzle both publishers and users.

From https://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/the-truth-about-multiple-h1-tags-in-the-html5-era–webdesign-16824

There should always be a ”h1” level heading between the opening ”body” tag and the first content section, to label the overall document.

Include screen reader only text in the h1 (“Specific page name”) that is the “Overarching topic”.

This will create a page without an h1 for the sighted users. Since the screen readers are supposed to read what the sighted users see, not some hidden information. I am not sure whether it will help.

An article about h1s from the University of Illinois

I cannot see what is wrong with the current heading structure. Perhaps we can discuss this altogether.

Some aria-label was added, but I am unsure if it is actually needed as the main content, in this context there will only be 1 navigation section in the “main” element

I am suggesting to remove the aria-label

ARIA usage is a tricky subject matter.

If this code is what you are talking about

		<nav aria-label="Section menu">
w3.org says:

“For most assistive technology it’s fine to use aria-label or aria-labelledby on the nav, and main elements but not on footer, section, article, or header”

I think the ARIA usage is not incorrect in this case.

A very relevant example is available at mozilla.org Here is what they say:

Content from Mozilla:

Repeated landmarks: If a navigation landmark role or ”nav” element in a document is repeated in a document, and both landmarks have identical content, use the same label for each landmark. An example of this would be repeating the main navigation at the top and bottom of the page.

		  <nav id="main-nav" aria-label="Main">
			<!-- list of links to main website locations -->
		  <nav id="footer-nav" aria-label="Main">
			<!-- list of links to main website locations -->

Redundant descriptions: Screen readers will announce the type of role the landmark has. Because of this, you do not need to describe what the landmark is, in its label. For example, a declaration of role=”navigation” with an aria-label=”Primary navigation” may be announced redundantly as, “primary navigation navigation”.

In general, you are absolutely right, the existing aria-labels should be reconsidered one-by-one and those that are unnecessary should be removed. The list below is from w3.org/TR/using-aria:

Consequently, these 3 ARIA codes should be removed from https://test.canada.ca/cra/section-menu-design/section-menu-pg3.html#h_2:

		<button type="button" aria-haspopup="true" aria-expanded="false">
			<ul role="menu" aria-orientation="vertical">

The overreliance on ARIA causes many failures on many accessibility criteria, due to incorrect usages.

To provide that contextual information, @duboisp is suggesting to:

There should be better solutions we can discuss. A low-tech solution might be adding tooltips for each step.

The alert component example will be better if it was wrapped inside a “section” element

You are absolutely right.

Alerts should be separate sections, cannot be just presented inside divs. If they are to be redesigned, they should be inside their own sections, as before.

This is the old mark-up I guess.

		<section class="alert alert-info">
		  <h3>Did your payments change or stop?</h3>
		  <p>Find out <a href="./keep-getting-payments.html#stop">why your payments may have changed or stopped</a> before contacting us.</p>

However, the new design might have other drawbacks. Consider that the alert is located like this:

New alert design on the new service initiation template page

Then it becomes messy. Where does the alert begin and where does it end? I also see a jungle of headings.

I personally don’t think removing the background improves anything.

There will be some documentation material to produce that would describe how to use it and the meaning of new CSS class like: gc-navseq and gc-nav-section

I know that TBS –DTO currently work on a documentation template, but I would need technical documentation similar to the service and information component here: https://wet-boew.github.io/themes-dist/GCWeb/component/gc-srvinfo.html

Additional issues

The “correct reading sequence” is considered as reading from left to right and top to bottom. When there are 2 columns, the first column is read first and the second begins after the first ends.

The existing focus order is marked with red numbers.

(FAIL Level A. 1.3.1, 1.3.2, and 2.4.3 criteria.)

F1: Failure of Success Criterion 1.3.2 due to changing the meaning of content by positioning information with CSS

Focus sequence order on the new service initiation template page

Accessibility concerns aside, to my opinion, this layout is somehow confusing even for the perfectly sighted people. It is difficult to understand which content is under which heading or how many topics there are.

Canada Child Benefit: Contact the CRA page with new service initiation template

The page: https://test.canada.ca/canada-child-benefit-2/post-validation/revenue-agency/services/child-family-benefits/canada-child-benefit/contact.html#contact

The solution suggested – please see the very rough mock-up below

To keep correct tab order in harmony with what is visible, the side navigation “Sections” on the right could have been made horizontal and inserted between “Canada Child Benefit” and “Contact the CRA” headings.

Like form labels and inputs, the sentences could have been simply positioned on top of each other.

Horizontal navigation on the page with new service initiation template

No mark-up can be used inside the title element. I know for a fact that there are publishers being too creative about titles.

		<title>Contact the <abbr title="Canada Revenue Agency">CRA</abbr> - Canada Child Benefit - Canada.ca</title>

This is how it looks on hover:

Page title outputs visual HTML code in the browser's tab

There are many validation errors, including several stray tags, duplicate IDs. (FAIL 4.1.1 PARSING LEVEL A)

Grey headings fail the contrast checker test. (FAIL 1.4.3 CONTRAST LEVEL AA)

Its text size is 1.3em, corresponding to 15pt. It is not considered as large text. Here are the WCAG Sufficient Techniques:

Situation A: text is less than 18 point if not bold and less than 14 point if bold

  1. G18: Ensuring that a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 exists between text (and images of text) and background behind the text
  2. G148: Not specifying background color, not specifying text color, and not using technology features that change those defaults
  3. G174: Providing a control with a sufficient contrast ratio that allows users to switch to a presentation that uses sufficient contrast
  4. SL13: Providing A Style Switcher To Switch To High Contrast (Silverlight)

Canada CHild Benefit first H1 passes large text contrast ratio

I think the medium-size screen shows the most linear layout:

Canada Child Benefit: How much you can get page with new service initiation template in medium viewport showing navigation vertically