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dl element (description list) (html)

Support level: partial (34/54)

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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

Expectations are conditions that must be met for the feature to be considered as "supported". Only "MUST" expectations need to be met for minimal "support". "SHOULD" and "MAY" expectations indicates support that goes above and beyond. Note that there is not an explicit standard that dictates these expectations, and as such, they are likely opinionated. As such, a feature might not meet all "MUST" expectations but still be usable (potentially frustratingly so). Additionally, the assistive technology may provide many different commands to read, navigate, or otherwise interact with a feature. Only one command is required to pass for the expectation to be minimally supported.

Summary of support by expectation type

MUSTSHOULDMAY
partial (34/54)

Summary of support by expectation and assistive technology

ExpectationDragon Naturally SpeakingJAWSNarratorNVDATalkBackVoiceOver for iOSVoiceOver for macOS
MUST convey the description list rolenot applicablesupportedpartialpartialunknownnonesupported
MUST convey the number of term/description groupings in the listnot applicablesupportedsupportedsupportedunknownnonesupported
MUST convey the boundary of the list (start and end)not applicablesupportedpartialsupportedunknownnonesupported

The screen reader MUST convey the description list role

Rationale: A user needs to be able to understand that they are reading a description list.

ATBrowserHas Support
Dragon Naturally SpeakingGoogle Chromenot applicable
JAWSGoogle Chromesupported
JAWSInternet Explorersupported
JAWSFirefox (desktop)supported
NarratorMicrosoft Edgepartial
NVDAGoogle Chromepartial
NVDAFirefox (desktop)partial
TalkBackGoogle Chrome (android)unknown
VoiceOver for iOSSafari (iOS)none
VoiceOver for macOSSafari (macOS)supported

This expectation is referenced by 2 tests.

Tests that reference this expectation
test namehas support
HTML basic description list testpartial (23/63)
HTML description list with wrapped groups testpartial (23/63)

The screen reader MUST convey the number of term/description groupings in the list

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

ATBrowserHas Support
Dragon Naturally SpeakingGoogle Chromenot applicable
JAWSGoogle Chromesupported
JAWSInternet Explorersupported
JAWSFirefox (desktop)supported
NarratorMicrosoft Edgesupported
NVDAGoogle Chromesupported
NVDAFirefox (desktop)supported
TalkBackGoogle Chrome (android)unknown
VoiceOver for iOSSafari (iOS)none
VoiceOver for macOSSafari (macOS)supported

This expectation is referenced by 2 tests.

Tests that reference this expectation
test namehas support
HTML basic description list testpartial (23/63)
HTML description list with wrapped groups testpartial (23/63)

The screen reader MUST convey the boundary of the list (start and end)

Rationale: A user must be able to determine when they enter or leave the list so that they are that content belongs or does not belong to the list.

ATBrowserHas Support
Dragon Naturally SpeakingGoogle Chromenot applicable
JAWSGoogle Chromesupported
JAWSInternet Explorersupported
JAWSFirefox (desktop)supported
NarratorMicrosoft Edgepartial
NVDAGoogle Chromesupported
NVDAFirefox (desktop)supported
TalkBackGoogle Chrome (android)unknown
VoiceOver for iOSSafari (iOS)none
VoiceOver for macOSSafari (macOS)supported

This expectation is referenced by 2 tests.

Tests that reference this expectation
test namehas support
HTML basic description list testpartial (23/63)
HTML description list with wrapped groups testpartial (23/63)