Techniques for WCAG 2.0

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T2: Using standard text formatting conventions for lists


Plain text documents. Not applicable to technologies that contain markup.

This technique relates to:


The objective of this technique is to use text formatting conventions to create simple lists of related items. Hierarchical lists or nested lists cannot be represented using this technique and should be represented using a different technology.

A list is a sequence of list items. A list item is a paragraph that begins with a label. For unordered lists, asterisks, dashes, and bullet characters may be used as the label, but the same label characters must be used for all the items in a list. For ordered lists, the label may be alphabetic or numeric, and may be terminated by a period or a right parenthesis. The labels must be in ascending order, that is,


Example 1: Unordered list

Example Code:

- unordered list item
- unordered list item
- unordered list item

Example 2: Numeric ordered list

Example Code:

1. Ordered list item
2. Ordered list item
3. Ordered list item

Example 3: Roman numeral ordered list

Example Code:

i.   Ordered list item
ii.  Ordered list item
iii. Ordered list item
iv.  Ordered list item

Example 4: Alphabetic ordered list

Example Code:

A) Ordered list item
B) Ordered list item
C) Ordered list item


No resources available for this technique.

(none currently listed)



For each list in the text content

  1. Check that each list item is a paragraph that starts with a label

  2. Check that the list contains no lines that are not list items

  3. Check that all list items in a list use the same style label

  4. Check that the labels in ordered lists are in sequential order

  5. Check that the labels in each unordered list are the same

Expected Results

If this is a sufficient technique for a success criterion, failing this test procedure does not necessarily mean that the success criterion has not been satisfied in some other way, only that this technique has not been successfully implemented and can not be used to claim conformance.

Techniques are Informative

Techniques are informative—that means they are not required. The basis for determining conformance to WCAG 2.0 is the success criteria from the WCAG 2.0 standard—not the techniques. For important information about techniques, please see the Understanding Techniques for WCAG Success Criteria section of Understanding WCAG 2.0.