Lists are often overlooked as an accessibility feature, but the ability to move quickly and effectively through long lists of points is a key reading need. Unfortunately, it's still the case that lists are rendered as anything but proper lists, i.e. you'll often see a new paragraph for each item, or manual line breaks to separate entries, etc.
When a reader has to traverse every item in the list one item at a time to get to the end, or listen to the entire list from beginning to end, the problems of bad markup become more pronounced. Properly tagging lists is a small measure that can greatly decrease reader frustration.
Do not make lists with just manually typed characters like dashes, numbers, asterisks, or graphics as a screenreader may not be able to read the list in the proper order. When bullet or numbered list formatting is used, screenreaders will properly announce the text as being part of a list, and provide a means for the user to quickly navigate between items as well as move in and out of lists.
Use the appropriate button in Word’s formatting toolbar, i.e. bullet or numbered list.
Only the default list styles will be supported when converting to DAISY. New (Custom) list styles will not be supported.
When you make a list using direct formatting, it will still cause the "List Paragraph" style to appear in the Styles Pane. If modifications are needed (i.e., spacing), do this by Modifying the Style (not by using further Direct Formatting).
Using the correct list type is also important as it may be the only cue to the reader whether the order of items is significant. An alphabetical list is not necessarily an ordered list; for example, arranging items is not the same as assigning them a specific order. If you can re-arrange the items without changing the meaning of the list, you've defined an unordered list (i.e. indexes and bibliographies do not lose meaning when re-ordered).
For unordered lists, use the bulleted list tool. The icon looks like this:
Optional: for display purposes, you can create an invisible bullet using "define new bullet" and selecting the blank bullet character.
For ordered lists, use the numbered list tool. The icon looks like this:
Sometimes you will have text that has ordered lists that are broken up by other bodies of text. In these instances:
Continue Numbering. Click this option and the number will automatically change to continue from the previous number despite the break between each.
For more information on how to continue ordered lists with breaks please see this tutorial.
In addition to the common types of lists mentioned above, there also exists what we call a "definition list". Definition lists require the use of special DAISY styles.
Definition lists generally consist of term/definition pairs - a term followed by its definition.
For example, a glossary of terms would be a definition list:
mango: tropical fruit with sweet golden flesh lychee: tropical fruit with deep red leathery skin and clear white flesh carambola: star shaped tropical fruit with tart lemon-pineapple flavour rambutan: egg-shaped tropical fruit similar to lychees with leathery skin covered in soft red hairs
There are two definition list styles in the NNELS Template:
Both styles are used together to create a definition list. When creating a definition list, we follow these steps:
This will give us the below output in XML:
<dl> <dt>mango</dt> <dd>tropical fruit with sweet golden flesh</dd> <dt>lychee</dt> <dd>tropical fruit with deep red leathery skin and clear white flesh</dd> <dt>carambola</dt> <dd>star shaped tropical fruit with tart lemon-pineapple flavour</dd> <dt>rambutan</dt> <dd>egg-shaped tropical fruit similar to lychees with leathery skin covered in soft red hairs</dd> </dl>
Definition lists are not restricted to glossaries of terms. We use them for all term-description groups. Term-description groups may be names and definitions, categories and topics, or any other groups of term-description pairs.
Q: Should this list be formatted using H2 and H3 for the countries and institutions, and Lists for the collections? Or should I used nested lists for all elements?
A: Yes, using H2 for Canada, with the underlying content a nested list, seems like a logical structure.
WCAG 2.0 — H48: Using ol, ul and dl for lists or groups of links
WCAG 2.0 - H40: Using description lists