HTML and XHTML
This technique relates to Success Criterion 3.1.3: Unusual Words (Sufficient as a way to meet G55: Linking to definitions).
The objective of this technique is to provide the description of names or terms by
presenting them in a description list. The list is marked up using the
element. Within the list, each term is put in a separate
dt element, and
its description goes in the
dd element directly following it. Multiple terms can be associated with a single description,
as can a single term with multiple descriptions, provided that semantic sequence is
title attribute can be used to provide additional information about the
description list. Usage of description lists ensures that terms and their descriptions
are semantically related even as presentation format changes, as well as ensuring
that these terms and descriptions are semantically grouped as a unit.
Description lists are easiest to use when the descriptions are ordered alphabetically. A common use for description lists is a glossary of terms.
In HTML5 the name "Description list" was introduced. In previous versions these lists were referred to as "Definition lists".
A list of descriptions of nautical terms used on a Website about sailing.
<dl title="Nautical terms"> <dt>Knot</dt> <dd> <p>A <em>knot</em> is a unit of speed equaling 1 nautical mile per hour (1.15 miles per hour or 1.852 kilometers per hour).</p> </dd> <dt>Port</dt> <dd> <p><em>Port</em> is the nautical term (used on boats and ships) that refers to the left side of a ship, as perceived by a person facing towards the bow (the front of the vessel).</p> </dd> <dt>Starboard</dt> <dd> <p><em>Starboard</em> is the nautical term (used on boats and ships) that refers to the right side of a vessel, as perceived by a person facing towards the bow (the front of the vessel).</p> </dd> </dl>
Resources are for information purposes only, no endorsement implied.
For any set of terms and their associated descriptions:
- Check that the list is contained within a
- Check that each term in the list being described is contained within a
- Check that when there is more than one term that shares the same decription that the
dtelements immediately follow each other.
- Check that the description for each term is contained in one or more
- Check that the one or more
ddelements immediately follow the one or more
dtelements containing the term being described.
- All checks above are true.