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dl element (description list) (html)

Screen reader support level: partial (36/60)

Voice Control support level: not applicable

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About this feature

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 each other (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.

Age of results

Results across all tests for this feature range from 2 months ago to a year ago. Detailed dates and version information can be found in associated tests.

Failing and partial results are between a year ago and a year ago.

Expectations

What are expectations?

Screen Reader support by expectation

ExpectationJAWSNarratorNVDAOrcaTalkBackVoiceOver (iOS)VoiceOver (macOS)
ChromeIEFirefoxEdgeChromeFirefoxFirefoxChromeSafariSafari
MUST convey its rolesupportedsupportedsupportednonepartialpartialnonenonesupportedsupported
MUST convey the number of items in the listsupportedsupportedsupportednonesupportedsupportednonenonenonesupported
MUST convey the boundaries of the elementsupportedsupportedsupportednonesupportedsupportednonenonesupportedsupported

Voice Control support by expectation

ExpectationDragon Naturally SpeakingVoice Access (Android)Voice Control (iOS)Voice Control (MacOS)Windows Speech Recognition
ChromeChromeSafariSafariChrome
Not applicable

Expectation: convey its 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 this expectation for different types of assistive technologies:

  • Screen Readers: MUST
  • Voice Control: NA

Examples:

  • A screen reader might convey the role as "description list" when first entering the list.
Screen Reader support for 'MUST convey its role'
TestJAWSNarratorNVDAOrcaTalkBackVoiceOver (iOS)VoiceOver (macOS)
ChromeIEFirefoxEdgeChromeFirefoxFirefoxChromeSafariSafari
HTML basic description list testsupportedsupportedsupportednonepartialpartialnonenonesupportedsupported
HTML description list with wrapped groups testsupportedsupportedsupportednonepartialpartialnonenonesupportedsupported

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 this expectation for different types of assistive technologies:

  • Screen Readers: MUST
  • Voice Control: NA

Examples:

  • A screen reader might convey the position of each item in the list as something like "x of y" where y is the number of items in the list.
  • A screen reader might convey each term and description pair as a single item, or as separate items. For example, a screen reader might convey the size of a list of 3 pairs as either 3 or 6.
  • A screen reader might convey the number of items in the list when first entering the list.
Screen Reader support for 'MUST convey the number of items in the list'
TestJAWSNarratorNVDAOrcaTalkBackVoiceOver (iOS)VoiceOver (macOS)
ChromeIEFirefoxEdgeChromeFirefoxFirefoxChromeSafariSafari
HTML basic description list testsupportedsupportedsupportednonesupportedsupportednonenonenonesupported
HTML description list with wrapped groups testsupportedsupportedsupportednonesupportedsupportednonenonenonesupported

Expectation: convey the boundaries of the element

Rationale:

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

Strength of this expectation for different types of assistive technologies:

  • Screen Readers: MUST
  • Voice Control: NA

Examples:

  • A screen reader might announce the role of the element when entering and say something like "leaving" when exiting.
  • A screen reader might not explicitly announce entering and existing the element, but instead imply that the is in the containing object by conveying the roles of required children (options in a listbox for example).
  • A screen reader might announce position in set information such as "1 of 6".
  • A screen reader might not convey boundaries if the content fits on a single line
Screen Reader support for 'MUST convey the boundaries of the element'
TestJAWSNarratorNVDAOrcaTalkBackVoiceOver (iOS)VoiceOver (macOS)
ChromeIEFirefoxEdgeChromeFirefoxFirefoxChromeSafariSafari
HTML basic description list testsupportedsupportedsupportednonesupportedsupportednonenonesupportedsupported
HTML description list with wrapped groups testsupportedsupportedsupportednonesupportedsupportednonenonesupportedsupported

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 applicablenonenonesome partial supportnonenonenot applicablenot applicablenot applicablepartial (2/4)partial (2/4)not applicable

dd element (html)

DragonJAWSNarratorNVDAOrcaTalkBackVoice AccessVC iOSVC MacOSVoiceOver (iOS)VoiceOver (macOS)Speech Recognition
not applicablenonenonenonenonesome partial supportnot applicablenot applicablenot applicablepartial (2/4)partial (2/4)not applicable