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Accessibility Toolkit for Open Educational Resources (OER): Lists

Accessibility guide for creating OER

Accessibility Information on Lists

General Information:

Semantic Lists (ordered and unordered) provide orientation for users by organizing information in meaningful ways.

Why lists are important?

  • Use different types of lists to group information according to its nature to provide orientation for users.
  • When list are used correctly, assistive technologies are able to convey information to their users as they navigate to and within lists, such as the total number of items and the relative position of each item in the list.
  • Lists are recommended as potential replacements for simple tables, as tables can be more difficult to navigate and sometimes we provide info in tables that really would be better suited to lists.
  • Semantic lists helps users perceive, operate,  and understand, POUR principles.

How to create accessible semantic lists?

  • Use the built in “lists” option in WYSIWYG editors (what you see is what you get) to create lists.
  • Don’t create lists by manually typing in numbers or indenting, these are not accessible.
  • Create Ordered Lists <ol> for when there is a defined sequence or order intended for the items in the list.
  • Create Unordered Lists <ul> for when there is no specific order intended for the list you are creating.
  • Create Description Lists <dl> for when a specific structure is needed to provide definitions for terms.

Platform Specific list instructions

  • Do not create lists or tables manually, use the built in formatting.

screengrab showing how to add a list in guttenberg

  • Do not create lists manually, use the built in formatting.

screengrab showing lists area in wordpress classic.

  • Do not create lists or tables manually, use the built in formatting.

screengrab showing how to create lists or tables in libguides.

If you want to create a description list, you need to select the <source> button and type in the code for a definition list (<dl>,<dt>, <dd>

Screengrab of blackboard edit ribbon to add lists.

  • Use the build in list styles to create lists.
  • Do not manually create lists by inserting a number or a star.

Pro Tip

Add a period "." at the end of each list item, this lets the screen reader know the end of the list item has been reached and pauses before going onto the next list item.