Accessibility Tip of the Week: Creating true lists

Empty to-do list

This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about how to create true lists in a digital document. Please call Robert with any accessibility questions at Ext. 6105. He is more than happy to talk by phone or schedule a time to meet with you.

Underlying each digital document is a programmatic structure that is critical for screen reader users. If elements such as lists are only created visually, without using the appropriate tools, this programmatic structure becomes inaccurate, creating confusion for a screen reader user.

The programmatic accompaniment is particularly important when it comes to lists, as the list would otherwise appear as a collection of very short paragraphs. There are two list types available to content authors: unordered and ordered lists. An unordered, or bulleted list, is the most common, and can be used in a wide variety of applications such as shopping or to-do lists. An ordered list uses numbers rather than bullet points and is frequently used to describe the steps in a process.

Both list types can be created easily within Microsoft Office, Google Docs or other software suites. Simply select either the bulleted or numbered list option from the main ribbon:


By selecting these options, content authors ensure their documents have the correct programmatic accompaniment and can be understood by everyone in the community.

For tips on providing the correct programmatic accompaniment for headings, see the blog post The Increased Efficiency of True Headings, or attend the Headings workshop at Knox on April 24, 2019. If you have any accessibility questions or tips in the meantime, please reach out to Robert Hardy at extension 6105.