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dl element (description list) (html)

Screen reader support level: partial (36/60)

Voice Control support level: not applicable

On this page

Description list element. See the related dt element and the dd element for more information.

The dl element and its associated dt and dd elements have poor to non-existent support. If it is critically important to convey relationships between terms and descriptions and the values of the two can be confused with eachother (think a matching list of colors such as "red: blue", consider another approach such as a table or headings. It is often possible for a user to determine which text is a key and which text is a value just based upon the text alone. If this is the case for your implementation, it might be fine to use a dl element and hope for better support in the future.

Expectations

What are expectations?

Screen Reader support by expectation

ExpectationJAWSNarratorNVDAOrcaTalkBackVoiceOver for iOSVoiceOver for macOS
MUST convey an appropriate rolesupportedpartialpartialnonepartialnonesupported
MUST convey the number of items in the listsupportedsupportedsupportednonesupportednonesupported
MUST convey the boundaries of the elementsupportedpartialsupportednonepartialnonesupported

Voice Control support by expectation

ExpectationDragon Naturally SpeakingVoice Access for AndroidVoice Control for iOSVoice Control for MacOS
Not applicable

Expectation: convey an appropriate role

Rationale: A screen reader user needs to know how they can interact with the element. Voice control software might use the role to help users activate controls that do not have a visible name.

Strength of these expectations for different types of assistive technologies:

  • Screen Readers: MUST
  • Voice Control: NA
ATBrowserHas Support
Dragon Naturally SpeakingGoogle Chromenot applicable
JAWSGoogle Chromesupported
JAWSInternet Explorersupported
JAWSFirefox (desktop)supported
NarratorMicrosoft Edgepartial
NVDAGoogle Chromepartial
NVDAFirefox (desktop)partial
OrcaFirefox (desktop)none
TalkBackGoogle Chrome (android)partial
Voice Access for AndroidGoogle Chrome (android)not applicable
Voice Control for iOSSafari (iOS)not applicable
Voice Control for MacOSSafari (macOS)not applicable
VoiceOver for iOSSafari (iOS)none
VoiceOver for macOSSafari (macOS)supported

This expectation is referenced by 2 tests.

Tests that reference this expectation
Test nameScreen Reader supportVoice Control support
HTML basic description list testpartial (25/70)not applicable
HTML description list with wrapped groups testpartial (25/70)not applicable

Expectation: convey the number of items in the list

Rationale: A user needs to be able to understand how many pairs or items are in the list.

Strength of these expectations for different types of assistive technologies:

  • Screen Readers: MUST
  • Voice Control: NA
ATBrowserHas Support
Dragon Naturally SpeakingGoogle Chromenot applicable
JAWSGoogle Chromesupported
JAWSInternet Explorersupported
JAWSFirefox (desktop)supported
NarratorMicrosoft Edgesupported
NVDAGoogle Chromesupported
NVDAFirefox (desktop)supported
OrcaFirefox (desktop)none
TalkBackGoogle Chrome (android)supported
Voice Access for AndroidGoogle Chrome (android)not applicable
Voice Control for iOSSafari (iOS)not applicable
Voice Control for MacOSSafari (macOS)not applicable
VoiceOver for iOSSafari (iOS)none
VoiceOver for macOSSafari (macOS)supported

This expectation is referenced by 2 tests.

Tests that reference this expectation
Test nameScreen Reader supportVoice Control support
HTML basic description list testpartial (25/70)not applicable
HTML description list with wrapped groups testpartial (25/70)not applicable

Expectation: convey the boundaries of the element

Rationale: A user needs to know when they enter and exit an element

Strength of these expectations for different types of assistive technologies:

  • Screen Readers: MUST
  • Voice Control: NA
ATBrowserHas Support
Dragon Naturally SpeakingGoogle Chromenot applicable
JAWSGoogle Chromesupported
JAWSInternet Explorersupported
JAWSFirefox (desktop)supported
NarratorMicrosoft Edgepartial
NVDAGoogle Chromesupported
NVDAFirefox (desktop)supported
OrcaFirefox (desktop)none
TalkBackGoogle Chrome (android)partial
Voice Access for AndroidGoogle Chrome (android)not applicable
Voice Control for iOSSafari (iOS)not applicable
Voice Control for MacOSSafari (macOS)not applicable
VoiceOver for iOSSafari (iOS)none
VoiceOver for macOSSafari (macOS)supported

This expectation is referenced by 2 tests.

Tests that reference this expectation
Test nameScreen Reader supportVoice Control support
HTML basic description list testpartial (25/70)not applicable
HTML description list with wrapped groups testpartial (25/70)not applicable

Related features

These are features that are usually used in combination with this feature.

dt element (html)

DragonJAWSNarratorNVDAOrcaTalkBackVoice AccessVC iOSVC MacOSVoiceOver (iOS)VoiceOver (macOS)
not applicablenonepartial (2/4)partial (2/8)partial (2/4)nonenot applicablenot applicablenot applicablenonepartial (2/4)

dd element (html)

DragonJAWSNarratorNVDAOrcaTalkBackVoice AccessVC iOSVC MacOSVoiceOver (iOS)VoiceOver (macOS)
not applicablenonepartial (2/4)partial (2/8)nonesome partial supportnot applicablenot applicablenot applicablenonepartial (2/4)