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dl element (description list) (html)

Screen reader support level: partial (35/60)

Voice Control support level: not applicable

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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 (iOS)VoiceOver (macOS)
MUST convey an appropriate rolesupportedpartialpartialnonepartialnonesupported
MUST convey the number of items in the listsupportedpartial (1/2)supportednonesupportednonesupported
MUST convey the boundaries of the elementsupportedpartialsupportednonepartialnonesupported

Voice Control support by expectation

ExpectationDragon Naturally SpeakingVoice Access (Android)Voice Control (iOS)Voice Control (MacOS)Windows Speech Recognition
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
Screen Reader support for 'MUST convey an appropriate role'
TestJAWSNarratorNVDAOrcaTalkBackVoiceOver (iOS)VoiceOver (macOS)
ChromeIEFirefoxEdgeChromeFirefoxFirefoxChromeSafariSafari
HTML basic description list testsupportedsupportedsupportedpartialpartialpartialnonepartialnonesupported
HTML description list with wrapped groups testsupportedsupportedsupportedpartialpartialpartialnonepartialnonesupported

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
Screen Reader support for 'MUST convey the number of items in the list'
TestJAWSNarratorNVDAOrcaTalkBackVoiceOver (iOS)VoiceOver (macOS)
ChromeIEFirefoxEdgeChromeFirefoxFirefoxChromeSafariSafari
HTML basic description list testsupportedsupportedsupportedpartial (1/2)supportedsupportednonesupportednonesupported
HTML description list with wrapped groups testsupportedsupportedsupportedpartial (1/2)supportedsupportednonesupportednonesupported

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
Screen Reader support for 'MUST convey the boundaries of the element'
TestJAWSNarratorNVDAOrcaTalkBackVoiceOver (iOS)VoiceOver (macOS)
ChromeIEFirefoxEdgeChromeFirefoxFirefoxChromeSafariSafari
HTML basic description list testsupportedsupportedsupportedpartialsupportedsupportednonepartialnonesupported
HTML description list with wrapped groups testsupportedsupportedsupportedpartialsupportedsupportednonepartialnonesupported

Related features

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

dt element (html)

DragonJAWSNarratorNVDAOrcaTalkBackVoice AccessVC iOSVC MacOSVoiceOver (iOS)VoiceOver (macOS)Speech Recognition
not applicablenonesome partial supportsome partial supportpartial (2/4)nonenot applicablenot applicablenot applicablenonepartial (2/4)not applicable

dd element (html)

DragonJAWSNarratorNVDAOrcaTalkBackVoice AccessVC iOSVC MacOSVoiceOver (iOS)VoiceOver (macOS)Speech Recognition
not applicablenonesome partial supportsome partial supportnonesome partial supportnot applicablenot applicablenot applicablenonepartial (2/4)not applicable