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RE: placeholder text in input controls

From: Sailesh Panchang <sailesh.panchang@deque.com>
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2011 16:27:21 -0500
Message-ID: <4ee7c318.45c3e00a.5e29.1c2b@mx.google.com>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
The HTML5 specs(1) for the placeholder attribute say: "...represents a
short hint (a word or short phrase) intended to aid the user with data
entry. A hint could be a sample value or a brief description of the
expected format.  ..."
It even suggests use of a title attribute if longer hints are needed.
Most importantly, it says it does not replace the label element /
label associaition.
It is merely a method that helps developers  to avoid JS code via
which they temporarily display  a hint that disappears when field gets
focus. Here again developers may be forced to write JS code to make
the attribute work with browsers that do not support the attribute.
It will never become a sufficient technique for WCAG 2 SC 1.3.1 or SC
3.3.2 because it is not meant to convey structure / purpose of the
field like a label element.
And generally, it will be quite a while before HTML5 techniques make
it to the WCAG 2 list of sufficient techniques.
Sailesh Panchang
Received on Tuesday, 13 December 2011 21:27:26 UTC

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