Let your headings do the hard work

The most common improvement I tell teams to make is to tell the user what they need to do in the h1.

Your h1 will be one of the first things that a user reads. It frames the whole page and everything inside it.

Though teams know this, I often see the most important thing buried in a paragraph somewhere else. Or in some colourful box trying to compete against the h1 for attention.

Rather than competing against your h1 by using callout boxes. Let your heading do the hard work.

If a service is unavailable, or no results were found, put that in the h1.

Beyond questions

When you only have one question on the page, it can be easier for teams to be clear what the user needs to do.

Which is why doing one thing per page makes it easier to be clear to your user what they need to do.

This is not to say I haven’t seen many teams have a h1 that is different to the question and input on a page. If you find yourself doing this. Make the h1 the question.

But sometimes you need to provide several options. Or more information to support a question.

When you’re not writing a heading as a question. Use a verb in your heading to help the user know what you’re asking them to do. For example check, enter, tell, select or choose

Doing this makes it clear that you want the users to do something. And what it is that you want them to do.

When you don’t want the user to do something, but need them to know something. Make the h1 tell the main story. Do not bury the important details. Tell them their message has been sent, appointment cancelled or that you have refunded them £6.99.

Don’t make your h1 compete with the important details. Make it the important thing. And never leave the user guessing that you want them to do a thing.

Let your headings do the hard work

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