[whatwg] Placeholder option for text input boxes

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis bhawkeslewis at googlemail.com
Tue Sep 30 10:25:20 PDT 2008

Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
> 2) @alt
>   Pro: Presumably accessible to people with screen readers.

Presumptions are risky.

Is there any evidence (by which I mean a test case and a description of 
how to reproduce behavior with real user agents) that demonstrates that 
this would be true for INPUT TYPE="TEXT"? I can imagine screen readers 
resorting to checking ALT to repair missing LABEL and TITLE; I'd be 
surprised if it were common behavior otherwise. Likewise I can imagine 
users being able to query for ALT, but this hardly seems like a natural 
interface for accessing placeholder text.

> 3) @title


> Not accessible.

There are various accessibility problems @title in existing environments 
and user agents:


However, implementations could be improved, just as support for 
"placeholder" could be implemented.

> 4) <label> (moving label textual content into <input> as placeholder 
> text; currently with Javascript to mutate the DOM, in the future with 
> CSS to present the desired appearance while keeping the DOM stable)
>   Pro: Most semantic.

Is it? How is it /more/ semantic than "placeholder", which would 
precisely identify this text as a placeholder?

Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis

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