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Re: [whatwg] Hide placeholder on input controls on focus

From: Glenn Maynard <glenn@zewt.org>
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2013 17:32:33 -0500
Message-ID: <CABirCh_te6P_PHvsVbro2S8pmgA80vmp6PFEo8nBf=1Czc1b-A@mail.gmail.com>
To: Markus Ernst <derernst@gmx.ch>
Cc: whatwg@lists.whatwg.org, Tim Streater <tim@clothears.org.uk>, Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@mit.edu>
On Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 4:16 AM, Markus Ernst <derernst@gmx.ch> wrote:

> The spec does clearly say: "The placeholder attribute should not be used
> as an alternative to a label."
> http://www.whatwg.org/specs/**web-apps/current-work/**
> multipage/common-input-**element-attributes.html#the-**
> placeholder-attribute<http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/common-input-element-attributes.html#the-placeholder-attribute>
>
Thus, the use case you mention is an authoring mistake.


This is a styling and UX decision to be made by authors, not by the HTML
specification.  This is only UX advice ("should", not "must"); it's not an
authoring mistake to have a different opinion on it.



> I am sure that the spec should weigh possible confusion of unexperienced
> users higher than problems caused by authoring mistakes. (Also, misusing
> the placeholder as a label is potentially annoying once the value of the
> control is not the empty string anymore: As you can't even focus someting
> else in order to see the placeholder text, you will have to delete whatever
> you have typed before.)
>

I start typing after I read the placeholder.  Hiding placeholder text just
because I focused the input is wrong; I may not have read it yet.

Anyway, both your and my use cases may be worked around by an obvious
> visual distinction of the placeholder in focused fields. E.g. the
> placeholder text may be rendered almost transparent when the control has
> focus. There must be something that indicates an unexperienced user that
> (s)he can enter text now, which is not the case in the current
> implementations of Firefox and Chrome.
>
> (I must admit I am surprised about this discussion. Huge efforts are made
> in HTML development to enhance accessibility by removing obstacles for
> various groups of users. I am reporting an obstacle. Of course the problem
> will lose weight once placeholders are commonly known, but it is still a
> source of confusion.)
>

Both Firefox and Chrome put the placeholder text in grey to distinguish it
from user-entered text.  The subject line says "Hide placeholder on input
controls on focus", and that's not a good idea.

In any case, how placeholders are styled should remain up to the
implementation.  This isn't a spec issue.

-- 
Glenn Maynard
Received on Friday, 22 March 2013 22:32:57 GMT

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