8.3. Mark up description lists with <dl>, <dt> and <dd>

Use <dl>, <dt> and <dd> tags to mark up description lists.

A description list is a series of key/value pairs that might be found, for example, in a product description, or in a glossary of terms.


One keyword (<dt> tag) might have several values (<dd> tags).

Example with the description of an event:

<h2>Web Accessibility Conference</h2>
   <dd>Saturday, September 7</dd>
   <dd>Wednesday, October 14</dd>
   <dd>Starts at 10 a.m.</dd>

Example with a glossary:

   <dd>Accessible Rich Internet Application</dd>
   <dd>Web Content Accessibility Guidelines</dd>

What are the advantages?

Structuring lists is essential for people using a screen reader (blind or visually impaired). When they come across a structured list, they are able to:

  • Navigate from list to list within a page.
  • Know from the start the number of elements in the list.
  • Navigate more easily through the list:
    • Go directly to the end of the list if they are not interested in the content.
    • Easily return to the top of the list.

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