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Re: Default Text [Was Access Keys]


From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Aug 17, 2005 11:40AM

On Wed, 17 Aug 2005, ben morrison wrote:

> I have always ignored the default text in input boxes, although i did
> come accross this yesterday:
> http://www.blackwidows.org.uk/wpress/?p=34

Use of default text (initial context) for explanations, or for anything
but providing a useful default value, was always a bad idea.

I'm sad to hear that (some) Braille users have problems with empty input
fields. The solution is to fix the software they use, not to break
everyone's form, causing trouble to almost all other users.

Even if we started messing around with misleading default texts, most text
input fields in forms on web pages don't contain that, and won't contain.
So the error in user agents must be fixed anyway.

The proposed method, using a default text of one space, might seem
relatively harmless. But can we know that _all_ defective
software that cannot handle an initially empty input field (a _very_
common ingredient on web pages) can handle one with a space?
Moreover, the initial space is distracting, especially to people who look
carefully and start wondering what's going on, and get suspicious.
What would happen on _good_ nonvisual user agents that, upon focusing on a
text input field, informed the user about the initial value? Surely it
would explicitly mention the space, since it _could_ be relevant to the
user to know about it. After all, who would set up such a default value
without really wanting something special?

Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/