McMaster University

Faculty of Health Sciences
Web Design

Scope of Search

Should text within images be used for content headings?

No, it is not a good idea to insert images that contain text in place of header tags within the content areas of pages. This is NOT a good idea for several reasons:

  • Text within an image is not readable by accessibility readers. The government of Ontario requires that all websites be accessibility compliant by 2012.
  • Text within an image is not readable by search engines. So search engines will not index the pages according to the text in the headings as it would if the headings text were inside of heading tags instead of images.
  • Even if alt tag text is used with an image, it will not be recognized as a heading. Both search engines and accessibility readers use heading tags to structure the content on the page.
  • Text within an image cannot be styled using stylesheets. If you want to change the look of text within a heading tag that has been styled with a stylesheet, all you have to do is change the values in the stylesheet and all headings throughout the website will be changed. If you want to change the look of heading text within an image, you have to re-recreate all of the images and insert them into all of the pages.

To add header tags in Contribute:

  1. Add the text for the heading in the content area of the page.
  2. Highlight the text.
  3. Choose Heading 2, Heading 3 and Heading 4 from the the styles drop down in Contribute or the Format drop down in Dreamweaver. (In Contribute, the header styles are at the bottom of the list.)

The Header 1 style is used for the page title and should not be used in the content areas. Header 1 indicates to search engines and accessibility readers that the text is the title for the page.