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Re: placeholder text in input controls

From: Devarshi Pant <devarshipant@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2011 15:14:24 -0500
Message-ID: <CAJGQbjv2oU3juT49wqNrGUXSRVqr_OPMMbgm78Ei0QCrzGow1Q@mail.gmail.com>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Bart wrote:
Now some sites start to use placeholder text instead of visible labels next
to the control. I don't see this technique in WCAG2.0. Do you consider this
sufficient to comply with success criterium 3.3.2 labels or instructions?
The placeholder text is visible in the control and disappears when the field
receives focus. Keyboard users see the text until they actually need it.
Title attributes are not displayed on keyboard focus, only on mouse over.
JAWS11 reads the title and not the placeholder attribute.
Please advise whether the above example is ok or not.

Bart – This example could satisfy SC 3.3.2, when we factor in the following:
1. The title attribute and the placeholder text should convey the same
meaning, which in your case are fine. “What is your first name” and
“First Name” are quite close.
2. Those screen reader users who have settings that favor the label
will not get the title attribute information. Furthermore, since the
placeholder information is unavailable too, the form will be hardly
accessible. Therefore, you might want to caution your users about this
behavior and probably state somewhere that settings should favor the
title attribute – some users like their default settings – so tread
carefully in this regard.

You may use off-screen labels if you want to avoid touching users’ settings.

Received on Friday, 9 December 2011 20:14:51 UTC

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