ARIA: List role

The ARIA list role can be used to identify a list of items. It is normally used in conjunction with the listitem role, which is used to identify a list item contained inside the list.

<section role="list">
  <div role="listitem">List item 1</div>
  <div role="listitem">List item 2</div>
  <div role="listitem">List item 3</div>
</section>

Description

Any content that consists of an outer container with a list of elements inside it can be identified to assistive technologies using the list and listitem containers respectively. A list must have one or more listitem children, or, alternatively, have one or more groups as children, with each group having one or more listitems as children.

There are no hard and fast rules about which elements you should use to markup the list and list items, but you should make sure that the list items make sense in the context of a list, e.g. a shopping list, recipe steps, driving directions.

Warning: If at all possible in your work, you should use the appropriate semantic HTML elements to mark up a list and its listitems — <ul>/<ol> and <li>. See Best practices for a full example.

 

Associated WAI-ARIA Roles, States, and Properties

listitem

A single item in a list or directory. Elements with role listitem can only be found in an element with the role list or group.

group

A collection of related objects, limited to list items when nested in a list, not important enough to have their own place in a pages table of contents.

Keyboard Interactions

None.

Required JavaScript features

None.

Examples

 ARIA Lists — some useful examples and thoughts by Scott O'Hara

Best practices

Only use role="list" and role="listitem" if you have to — for example if you don't have control over your HTML but are able to improve accessibility dynamically after the fact with JavaScript.

Unlike the HTML <ol> and <ul>, the ARIA list roles doesn't distinguish between ordered and unordered lists. If at all possible, you should use the appropriate semantic HTML elements to mark up a list (<ol> and <ul>) and list items (<li>). For example, our above example should be rewritten as follows:

<ul>
  <li>List item 1</li>
  <li>List item 2</li>
  <li>List item 3</li>
</ul>

or use an ordered list if the order of the list items matters:

<ol>
  <li>List item 1</li>
  <li>List item 2</li>
  <li>List item 3</li>
</ol>

Note: The ARIA list/listitem roles don't distinguish between ordered and unordered lists.

As an aside, note that if you are using the semantic HTML elements of ol or ul and apply a role of presentation, each child li element inherits the presentation role because ARIA requires the listitem elements to have the parent list element. So, the li elements are not exposed to assistive technologies, but elements contained inside of those li elements, including nested lists, are visible to assistive technologies.

Note: If you are marking up a list of items that will function as a tabbed interface, you should instead use the tab, tabpanel, and tablist roles.

Specifications

Specification Status
Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.1
The definition of 'list' in that specification.
Recommendation

Screen reader support

TBD

See also