Why use lists for site navigation?

Part of designing a site using web standards involves the use of semantically correct code. To quote "Brainstorms and Raves":

"Good HTML structure is based on logic, order, and using semantically correct markup. If you have a heading use the heading element, beginning with the H1 element. If you have a paragraph, use a paragraph element. If you have a list, use a list item element."

At a structural level, site navigation is simply a list of links to other areas of the site. Therefore, the best method for marking up site navigation is (arguably) to use a list element.

If you use good HTML structure, then text-based browsers, screen readers, non-CSS supporting browser, browsers with CSS turned off and search bots will be able to access your content more easily.

Doesn't this limit the designer?

The answer is absolutely not! Once you have a page with good HTML structure, you can use CSS to create all the visual effects you want. As this site shows, a simple list can be transformed into just about anything with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).