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When there is no content between headings

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Hidde de Vries explains why an HTML heading should never be immediately followed by another.

When you use a heading element, you set the expectation of content.

I have always prided myself on using appropriate, semantic HTML, however it’s recently become clear to me that there’s one thing I occasionally do wrongly. Sometimes I follow a page’s title (usually an h1 element) with a subtitle which I mark up as an h2. I considered this the right element for the job and my choice had nothing to do with aesthetics.

However a recent article on subtitles by Chris Ferdinandi and now this article by Hidde have made me reconsider.

HTML headings are essentially ”names for content sections”. On screen readers they operate like a Table of Contents – one can use them to navigate to content.

Therefore I now reckon I should only use a hx heading when it will be immediately followed by (non-heading) content – paragraphs and so on – otherwise I should choose a different element.

I should probably mark up my subtitles as paragraphs.

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