Last modified 10/31/2023
Lists help to organize content on a screen and make it easier for people to scan for information.
Keep lists as simple as possible. When possible, avoid compound lists (i.e. lists within lists). Compound lists can be confusing, particularly for non-visual users. Consider breaking complicated lists into separate sections with formatted headings.
Types of Lists
In most text editors for websites and digital documents you can choose from two types of lists: unordered (i.e. bulleted) and ordered (i.e. numbered) . These features help to create a list that is coded to "talk" to assistive technologies such as screen readers. They provide the underlying code needed to read a list correctly. Not using the built-in features could cause a list to be just text. Using only a dash or a plain text number will cause the list to be read as a long run-on sentence and can be confusing. If you find yourself using more than three commas to list things off in a sentence, consider using a list instead
Unordered or bulleted lists are for lists that do not have any particular rank. The last bullet point could switch with the first bullet point in an unordered list and not affect the clarity of the content.
Think of a recipe card. The list of ingredients do not need to be in a specific order to be understood.
- peanut butter
Ordered or numbered lists represent items that rely on rank order. You cannot switch the order without confusing the sequence.
Think of the recipe card's instructions. The step by step instructions need to be in a specific order to make sense and complete the task.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix peanut butter, sugar, and eggs.
- Add spoonfuls of dough on a lined cookie sheet.
- Bake for 6 to 8 minutes.