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Process list

Use: Deployed
The process list, also known as the subway map, is used in a static informational context to describe the process to apply for a benefit or to provide tracking information to a user where they are in a given process.


Default - Content list

View va-process-list in Storybook

Additional styling

View va-process-list–additional-styling in Storybook


When to use a process list

  • Displaying high-level sequential steps. Use process lists to create a clear hierarchy and help users easily differentiate between individual high-level steps or stages in a process.
  • For multi-step processes. In a multi-step process where the user may need to track progress over an extended period.

When to consider something else

  • Step indicator for forms.: When you need the user to complete more than one step in a process, usually completing a form, use the Progress bar - Segmented component.
  • When showing current status or progress. Use the Progress bar - Segmented component to show the user the current step in a multi-step process.
  • In-page navigation. Use the side navigation component to display the “sub-navigation” within a section or page of the website.
  • The steps are non-sequential. Use lists to display text that doesn’t have a clear, logical order to it.
  • The listed content is meant to improve readability of a complex sentence. Use the ordered and unordered list components to break up sentences and paragraphs with lists. These lists are part of the general content of the page and don’t need the typographical hierarchy or visual impact of the process list.
  • When instructing users to take specific actions that don’t require explanation, not describing high-level steps. This component isn’t appropriate for a list of instructions such as “Click the login button” or “Right-click and select Save As” that don’t require any additional description.

How this component works

  • Be thoughtful about the number of steps. A process list should include between three and ten steps to prevent it from getting too unwieldy or confusing.
  • Do not stack. Only one instance of this component should appear on a page.
  • Do not mash up this component with other components. This component should not be combined with an Accordion acting as the header for a step in the process. Content should be edited to fit the step, provide key information, and be visible by default.


The Process list appears after a start form link on the form Introduction page. Additional calls-to-action to start the application or process that the process list describes can be found within (in the case of apply) and below the list.

Instances of this component in production

An example of the process list component on an Education benefits application.
The Education benefits application form 1995 uses a process list on the introduction page of the application.

Content considerations

  • List headings should start with a verb. Examples include “Prepare”, “Apply”, “Review”, etc.
  • Make headings clear and concise. You can always write more content in paragraphs and other HTML elements below the heading.
  • Make process step content clear and concise. Process list should not be a container for many other components and text. Use plain language and briefly explain the step in the process.

Accessibility considerations

  • Use semantic heading levels. While our examples uses a <h3>, use the appropriate heading level within your page.
  • Don’t use headings alone. Each step should have both a heading and content that helps describe the step in more detail.
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Last updated: Feb 16, 2023