dl elements must only directly contain properly-ordered dt and dd groups, script or template elements

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Rule Description

Definition lists (<dl>) must contain only properly-ordered <dt> and <dd> groups, <script> or <template> elements.

The Algorithm, in Simple Terms

Ensures that all <dl> elements are structured correctly

Why this is Important

Screen readers have a specific way of announcing definition lists. When such lists are not properly marked up, this creates the opportunity for confusing or inaccurate screen reader output.

How to Fix the Problem

Check that your definition list has only <dt> and <dd> elements. Furthermore, make sure these are properly ordered, <dt> should precede <dd> elements.

Compliance Data & User Impact

User Impact: Serious
Disabilities Affected:
  • Blindness
  • Deafblindness
Issue Type:
  • WCAG 2.0 (A): MUST
  • WCAG 2.1 (A): MUST
WCAG Success Criteria:
  • 1.3.1 Info and Relationships
Section 508 Guidelines:
  • Not applicable

Related Deque University Course Pages

Other Related Resources

Additional Information

Relevant Technologies:
  • HTML 4
  • HTML5
Test Reliability: Automated testing is possible, with high accuracy
Rule ID: definition-list