Page titles

Descriptive HTML page titles help users quickly understand a web page’s content

Providing unique, concise HTML page titles helps users with disabilities quickly understand a web page’s content and purpose. Well-written page titles are critical to users with visual disabilities because they are always the first page element announced by screen-reading software.

Benefits

These measures allow users with visual disabilities to quickly determine if they are interested in a page’s content. They also provide a descriptive name for bookmarking the page, which doubles as an accurate description for search results.

Examples

Page titles & ratings

TitlesRatingDescription
Contact UsGoodThis title doesn't identify the site or tell who "Us" is.
Acme Incorporated - Contact UsBetterA likely unique title, but it does not begin with the most specific information.
Contact Us - Acme IncorporatedBestThis title is concise, descriptive, likely unique, and identifies the site. It also lists the most specific information first.

Code placement

See the <title> tag on line 3 below:
<html>
  <head>
    <title>Unique and Descriptive Page Title - Web Accessibility Top Ten - UITS</title>
  </head>
  <body>
    <h1>Provide a unique and descriptive page title</h1>
    …
  </body>
</html>

Best practices

  • Provide a concise page title that accurately describes the page’s content and purpose
  • Make sure the page title is unique to your site and any related sites
    • Note the current subsection of the website where appropriate, as well as the site name
  • Place the page description text first, followed by the site name(s)
  • Use JavaScript to change the title to appropriately reflect page content for pages where the main content changes dynamically

Checking for correct usage

  • Determine the page title:
    • Inspect the browser DOM for a non-empty title element in the head section.
    • In some web browsers, hovering the mouse cursor over the page's tab will display the full page title as a pop-up.
      • For example, in Firefox, the page title is listed on the General tab, under Tools > Page Info.
  • Verify that the title element describes the page's purpose and content.
  • Verify that the title element is unique compared to all of the site's pages.

Relevant accessibility standards

WCAG 2.0 SC 2.4.2 (Level A) - Page Titled
Web pages have titles that describe topic or purpose.

Section 508 §1194.22 (i)
Frames shall be titled with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation.