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Re: place-holding characters in edit/text boxes

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Tue, 27 May 2003 09:04:19 +0200
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
To: Chris Croome <chris@webarchitects.co.uk>
Message-Id: <7001FA7E-9011-11D7-99EA-000A958826AA@sidar.org>

Nice Javascript. But I think we are working hard to avoid having to 
face the real issue - is this necessary now or have we reached the 
stage where user agents solve this problem.

I think it would be useful to ask the WCAG group for an official 
opinion on this than for us to guess. In the absence of their official 
opinion I personally guess that it is OK to leave out the default text 
now, but would rather have some consensus behind the opinion. Watch for 
a note going to the WCAG group...

As far as I know it is done for two reasons: One is some idea that it 
is more stylish than having labels which explain the input field, (at 
least there is an explanation somewhere, but it isn't an ideal 
technique in my opinion), and the other is for conformance with this 
checkpoint, particularly as it is tested by many automatic 
accessibility testers, being easy.

If you read the discussions of the WCAG group back in the late 90s when 
this as included, the reason was that some screen reader / browser 
combinations then in use would not allow the user to focus an empty 
form field (this is also when HTML forms were brand new and not all 
browsers implemented them). I don't know of any such combination, but 
would be interested to learn what they were.



Chris Croome wrote:

> Hi
> On Fri 23-May-2003 at 05:10:12PM +1000, Sandra Vassallo wrote:
>> I'm interested in people's experience/opinion re checkpoint 10.4
>>  'Until user agents handle empty controls correctly, include
>>  default, place-holding characters in edit boxes and text areas."
>> Is this still an issue for any screen readers (assuming the label
>> element is used)?
> This is one of the very few cases where I actually have a use for
> Javascript, it can be used so that non-js browsers get the standard
> place holder text and people with js enabled browsers have the
> placeholder text vanish when the form gets focus:
>  <label for="q">Search</label>
>  <input    type="text"    size="12"
>    name="q"    id="q"    title="Enter your search term(s) here 
> [Accesskey 4]."
>    onblur="if(this.value=='')this.value='Keyword(s)';"
>    onfocus="if(this.value=='Keyword(s)')this.value='';"
>    value="Keyword(s)"    accesskey="4"  />
>    <input    type="submit"    value="Go"    title="Submit your search 
> term(s) to the search engine."  />
>  You can see this here: http://mkdoc.com/
>  Chris
Received on Tuesday, 27 May 2003 03:04:41 UTC

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