W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > February 2013

RE: use of placeholder as a label for an input

From: Léonie Watson <tink@tink.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2013 08:50:34 -0000
To: "'Maciej Stachowiak'" <mjs@apple.com>, "'Steven Faulkner'" <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>
Cc: "'HTMLWG WG'" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <010e01ce0e7e$2e7c4f90$8b74eeb0$@tink.co.uk>
Maciej Stachowiak wrote:

“Also: You haven't explained why using a palceholder without any other label
is insufficient.”


The general problem is that if the placeholder is not supported/available,
there is no sensible way for a screen reader user to identify the purpose of
the field.


If the field is part of a simple form (like a search), it’s manageable. If
it’s a complex form with multiple fields it’s next to impossible to complete
the form without knowing what should be entered into each field.


Right now an associated label is the only robust (backwards compatible) way
to make this information available. Strictly speaking the label doesn’t have
to be visible, but keeping it visible makes the field easier for people with
memory related conditions to remember the purpose of the field (once the
placeholder has been overwritten).






From: Maciej Stachowiak [mailto:mjs@apple.com] 
Sent: 19 February 2013 06:29
To: Steven Faulkner
Subject: Re: use of placeholder as a label for an input



<chair hat off>


I think there are two counterpoints to consider:

- It's generally not a great idea to have MUST NOT criteria that are not
machine checkable; whether placeholder is being used a "an alternative to
label" depends on intent and interpretation of the contents.

- This pattern appears to be pretty common and a MUST NOT seems


Also: You haven't explained why using a palceholder without any other label
is insufficient. To make this concrete, consider the search box on
<http://www.reddit.com>, which has a placeholder of "search reddit" and no
other label. What concretely is the problem with this? There may be a reason
this is bad, but you have not explained to the WG what it is.






On Feb 18, 2013, at 8:54 AM, Steve Faulkner <faulkner.steve@gmail.com>

The HTML spec currently states [1]:

The placeholder attribute should not be used as an alternative to a label.

should this be tighened up to MUST NOT?

I believe there are cases where having a label associated using the label
element may not be required, but can't think of any cases where the
placholder attribute text suffices as the only label for an input.


with regards

Steve Faulkner

Received on Tuesday, 19 February 2013 08:51:07 UTC

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