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RE: place-holding characters in form elements

From: Scarlett Julian (ED) <Julian.Scarlett@sheffield.gov.uk>
Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 11:23:43 +0100
Message-ID: <F9BE3B1AB649D311A573009027852E4D01E349F9@EDUC_MXS>
To: "'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
> (You mean Guideline 10.4. (It is at priority level 3.))

Oops, yes I did mean that. Sorry.

I think I may have misunderstood something here. I was (am) under the
impression that whatever I, as an author, decide to put in a text area to
designate it's intended use  is the actual place-holding characters. Jukka's
statement about them conflicting with *genuine* values provided by the
authors seems to suggest that my understanding is wrong. What then, is a
place-holding character and how does it differ from , for example, my
decision as an author to put "enter your name here" in a text input that is
for a user to type in their name. I must admit to being a tad confused now. 

If there is a difference between the two and I do not use place-holding
characters how can I achieve AAA accessibility?


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jukka Korpela [mailto:jukka.korpela@tieke.fi]
> Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2002 10:54 AM
> To: 'w3c-wai-ig@w3.org'
> Subject: RE: place-holding characters in form elements
> 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
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Received on Thursday, 23 May 2002 06:20:51 UTC

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