akamike (2007-2010)

Form Mark-Up: Lists Are NOT Appropriate

Following on from my "Form Mark-Up: Are Lists Appropriate?" article last month, I've become more educated on the matter and changed my opinion. Don't use lists in your form mark-up!

Thanks to Mark Aplet and his excellent rebuttal, I have realized that I fell into the old trap that used to come with tables: Adding mark-up for presentation alone. We shouldn't be doing that as it is not semantically correct, the basic elements we use should be enough to style our pages effectively (see Mark's example).

If there are not enough hooks to style your form you may want to stop and ask the questions: Are you approaching it the right way? Are you over complicating it unnecessarily? Is there a problem with the UI design? Is it an IA problem that needs to be addressed?

Rather than just repeating everything Mark has already said, I urge you read his response and give it some thought.

1 Comment

Mark Aplet

Hello Mike,
Thanks for the response and the follow up post. I am extremely happy that my opinions have possibly helped dispel any myths about lists and their place in HTML markup. That was certainly the goal with my article. I really hope that though discussion and debate we can learn to make the web a more useful place for everyone and not just the major population.

I do want to add something that was not obvious when reading my article. That is not to blindly take what we read as truth or absolute best practice. Even my article, though sound in my efforts to convey truth may in reality not be best practice. We as web designers and developers should implement, test, tweak, and repeat the process, formulating our own philosophies, and ultimately spurring on new techniques and advances in technology.

As a side note, I also recommend designers and developers to download a trial version of JAWS screen reader, and experience what other users are subjected to based on our decisions to code a particular way.

Thanks again Mike!