This week Robert Hardy, our district website accessibility specialist, shares about how to create true lists in a digital document. Please contact Robert with any accessibility questions. 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 users of assistive technologies. If elements such as lists are only created visually, without using the appropriate tools, this programmatic structure becomes inaccurate, creating confusion for many users.
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.
Lists without bullets
Sometimes, a list structure is required, but the visual bullets aren’t desired. Thankfully, both Microsoft Word and Google Docs allow for a bulleted list to be created without visual bullets:
- Create your bulleted list using the steps described above.
- Highlight the bulleted list and select the down arrow beside the bulleted list option. Select Define New Bullet.
- The Customize Bulleted List menu will open. Under Bullet Character, select the blank space. This will replace the bullets within your list with blank spaces, creating a programmatic list without the accompanying visual elements.
- Create a bulleted list using the steps described above.
- Highlight the list and then go to Format > Bullets & numbering > List options > More Bullet. This will open the Insert Special Characters menu.
- Click where Symbol is listed and change it to Format & Whitespace.
- Select the top leftmost blank square. This will replace the bullets within your list with blank spaces, creating a programmatic list without the accompanying visual elements.
If you have questions or tips regarding this or other accessibility concerns, please reach out to Robert Hardy, the district’s website accessibility specialist.