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RE: place-holding characters in form elements

From: Jukka Korpela <jukka.korpela@tieke.fi>
Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 12:54:07 +0300
Message-ID: <621574AE86FAD3118D1D0000E22138A95BDCE1@TIEKE1>
To: "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Scarlett Julian wrote:

> Priority 10.4 states that form text areas should have default 
> place-holding characters.

(You mean Guideline 10.4. (It is at priority level 3.))

> This is causing us some grief

Many people share your opinions and views. The "place-holding characters"
might help people using some old software, but they probably cause more
problems than benefits. Besides, they are illogical, and using them
conflicts with genuine default values provided by authors.

> If the user tabs to the text area it seems that the default text is
> highlighted and then overtyped but how can I make this happen 
> with someone who uses a mouse (without resorting to client side
> javascript). 

You can't.

My advice is: Don't use place-holding characters. (They are sometimes
claimed to give information about the kind of data that is expected, but any
need for such hints is caused by lack of adequate explanations and labels
before the fields.)

-- 
Jukka Korpela
TIEKE Tietoyhteiskunnan kehittämiskeskus ry
Finnish Information Society Development Centre 
Salomonkatu 17 A, 10th floor, FIN - 00100 HELSINKI, FINLAND
Phone: +358 9 4763 0397 Fax: +358 9 4763 0399 
http://www.tieke.fi  jukka.korpela@tieke.fi
Received on Thursday, 23 May 2002 05:53:29 GMT

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