February 23, 2024

How Headings Impact the Reader's Engagement With Passage 1

The reader may have a certain expectation about the content of an article, and the use of headings can be critical to ensuring that their expectations are met. A well-crafted set of headers can guide the reader through an article, allowing them to explore topics in a logical manner that makes sense within the overall flow of the text.

Headings are also important for providing context for readers who are working through lengthy content. They allow readers to skim a section and determine whether it will be relevant to their research before reading it. Headings should be concise and straightforward, telling the reader what the contents of a section will be about. They should be clearly differentiated from "normal" text, such as by being marked in bold or a specific font. Additionally, they should be numbered so that the document outline shows their nesting structure. If a heading is simply formatted to look like a heading but is not numbered, it will not appear in the document outline, and screen readers will be less likely to detect that it exists.

It is best to use fewer (or more general) higher level headers for shorter articles, and then to break them down into secondary or tertiary level headings for longer articles. When using higher-level headers, writers should be sure to use appropriate capitalization rules – capitalize only the first significant word and any proper nouns. Additionally, the header should be clearly separated from the paragraph text, and avoid stacking headings one on top of each other.

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