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Accessibility NextGen: Working with Page Sections

Jennifer Chadwick avatar


One of the most effective and sought-after new features in Accessibility NextGen is the ability to filter issues and potential issues by page section.

This article give an overview of Page Sections including: 

What are Page Sections?

Page sections, otherwise known as “page components” or “recurring elements”, are sections on a web page that may be present, in a consistent way, across multiple pages on your website.

Common page sections include a header, footer, main content area, and the metadata of the page within the <head> tag.  Because of the use of a library of components or templates to build websites, generally the code, content, and layout of a particular page section are identical across multiple pages, or with minor variations.

As mentioned, page sections are sometimes part of a page template that is applied to several pages across your site because of an identical purpose, topic, or content - for example, a header section that contains a company logo, navigation menu, search field, etc.  

Many times, page sections are composed of components that are built within a content management system (CMS).

NextGen Accessibility Page Sections Video

Video Transcript file (.docx): Using NextGen Accessibility: Page Sections

How does Siteimprove determine what is a page section?

An algorithm automatically generates three sections for each site: Header, Footer, Metadata.  A fourth section, ‘All Other Content’ is a catch-all section for everything else.

The algorithm works by finding and recognizing sections of repeated content across multiple pages and then analyzing which ‘section type’ (Header, Footer, Metadata, Other) the repeated content belongs to.

The Page Sections feature allows us to distribute occurrences of issues by the ‘section’ of the page they occur in. This way, users can focus on a single (or combination of) page section by selecting them from the filter dropdown on the Issues page.

Can I edit and adjust the sections?

Yes, it is possible for Siteimprove to edit the sections that we generated for you. Technical Support will be able to update and make changes to the page sections at your request.

Upon launch of Accessibility: NextGen, these sections will be available in the platform as filters on the Issues page and the Accessibility Overview page.  As mentioned, it will be possible for Technical Support to amend and edit the parameters of these sections. 

In the future, we would like to offer customers the ability to edit and amend pages sections themselves within the platform.

How do I know which page sections the crawler is tracking?

On the Accessibility Overview page, there is a dropdown called “All page sections” that expands to show icons for Header, Footer, Metadata, and Other Content.  The icons light up, i.e. change from grey to blue, if we find any issues in those sections.

Where can I find the Page Sections filter?

On the Accessibility Overview page, on the Issues page, and on the Potential Issues page.

Why have we created the Page Section feature?

Organizations often have different teams working with the content of their websites. Sometimes the page template or CMS component is maintained by an external company, and the user cannot fix an issue, as they don’t necessarily have access to the template.

What are the benefits of using page sections?

Ownership. In working with different organizations, we have recognized that page sections may belong to one individual/team in one organization (e.g. content authors) but managed by another team completely in a different organization (e.g. development).

With the new page sections feature in Accessibility: NextGen, it is no longer up to the individual user to investigate the location of different issues.  By filtering the list of accessibility issues (or potential issues) by page section such as header and footer, users can easily identify which issues should be prioritized, handled, and owned by each team. 

Prioritization of issues that impact several pages. A website with hundreds or thousands of pages may share several common page sections such as a header, footer, metadata <head>, and the main content body, etc., especially when these are built with a CMS.  Being able to filter on, manage, and make decisions about issues in a single page section (or a combination) saves users a significant amount of time and effort. This means making a decision that could clear an issue immediately from several pages at once.  

Where are the Responsibility (Webmaster, Editor, Developer) filters in NextGen?

The option to filter a list of issues by Responsibility within a digital team (Webmaster, Editor, and Developer) has been replaced in the NextGen product. 

We now have Responsibility filters based on roles that more accurately reflect the skillset on a digital team: UX Design, Visual Design, Development, and Content Authoring.

Using the Page Section filters you can, in the same way as Responsibility, be used to narrow the list of issues or potential issues related to that section of the webpage that a role is responsible for, in their role (in UX Design, Visual Design, Development and Content Authoring) and shared with that team member.

As always, sharing a list of issues can be done either through the Export options (Excel spreadsheet or PDF) at the singular Page Report level (URL).

Integrations with JIRA and DevOps have been built into NextGen to make it easy to assign and share issues within your team.

More information on NextGen

Visit this page for a full overview of the key features in NextGen.

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