[whatwg] Placeholder option for text input boxes

Tab Atkins Jr. jackalmage at gmail.com
Fri Oct 3 10:34:55 PDT 2008

On Fri, Oct 3, 2008 at 12:24 PM, Andy Lyttle <whatwg at phroggy.com> wrote:

> On Oct 3, 2008, at 10:15 AM, Jonas Sicking wrote:
>  Russell Leggett wrote:
>>> I've wrestled with this because its something that our designer has
>>> wanted to use all over the place for an application I'm working on. It turns
>>> out to be a usability nightmare if not used sparingly.
>> Why was it a uasability nightmare? Would it still have been a useability
>> nightmare if there had existed a semantic 'placeholder' attribute?
> Or was it because they really should have been using labels, instead of
> trying to shoehorn all the labels into placeholders that disappear on focus
> so as soon as you click you can't see what you're supposed to be doing?

I can't speak for him, but I'm willing to state "Bingo" for myself.  A blog
post commenting on the "use javascript to turn labels into placeholders"
technique [1] brought up *exactly* that issue.

That's really just an argument to use it sparingly, though - if a semantic
way to do this was presented, there'd be no problem with using it for an
attractive and compact login form.

@Jonas: The question that presents itself is what semantic @placeholder
could present that isn't already covered by <label>.

[1]: http://www.simiandesign.com/blog-fu/2005/09/javascript_for.php

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