List of access keys

4.1 Headings: Place key words early in the heading

See 4.1 of the Checklist

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Headings that begin with key words are easier to scan or skim-read, allowing the reader to quickly grasp the structure and scope of the document.

What are key words?

Key words are significant words or phrases that describe the main subject of the text. When you place key words early in a heading (front-loading), the reader can get the message in one eye movement. However, you don’t necessarily have to take the key words from the text that follows. For example, “who”, “how”, “where”, and “when” may be key words if they capture the key message.

In Example 1, the key message is who must do something. All 3 versions of the rewritten heading put the “who” first:

Example 1

cross.gif Completion of schedules by New Zealand agents of overseas traders carrying on business in New Zealand
tick.gif New Zealand agents of overseas traders must complete schedules
tick.gif New Zealand agents must complete schedules
tick.gif Who must complete schedules

In Example 2, the key message is how a partnership may end. The rewritten heading summarises the information in the original heading and puts the key word “how” first:

Example 2

cross.gif Partnership dissolved at end of term, by end of venture or undertaking, or by notice
tick.gif How partnerships may end

In Example 3, the key information relates to cancelling licences:

Example 3

cross.gif Breach of conditions by licence holder may result in licence being cancelled
tick.gif Cancellation of licence for breach of conditions
tick.gif Licence may be cancelled for breach of conditions

In Example 4, the key words are 3-D images, which appear at the end of the original heading:

Example 4

cross.gif Behold the new technologies for creating 3-D imagery
tick.gif Creating 3-D images with new technologies

In Example 5, the key word is rights, which is buried in the middle of the original version of the heading:

Example 5

cross.gif Insolvency of contracting carrier confers rights on contracting party
tick.gif Rights of contracting party if contracting carrier is insolvent

In Example 6, the generic “background” heading gives no indication of the subject:

Example 6

cross.gif Background
tick.gif Shoes: History and tradition

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