I got tripped up by the placeholder text in the Edit Summary, so I am wondering what do other people think about it?

When I clicked into the Edit Summary text field, the cursor was not at the beginning, it was in the placeholder text where I clicked. This made me think I had to delete the placeholder text, which I did. It took me a few go's to realize it disappeared when I typed.

Some alternatives I can think of are:

A) An alternative is to remove the placeholder text when you click. This is the behavior of using the HTML5 placeholder attribute and browsing in chrome

<input type="text" value="" placeholder="Search by city, postcode or address" name="q" id="search">

B) Move the cursor to the beginning of the textbox no matter where you click, or if you press the right arrow. Make it appear that the textbox is empty

C) Put a label behind the input box with the placeholder text in the label. Then clear the label when you start typing. I have never tried this option, but I assume it is possible.

2 Answers 2


The focus is set to the title box (and other input areas) on page load.

If the help text was cleared on focus rather than on keypress, this means the "help text" would not be visible, ever, for these fields. They would immediately have focus and the user would typically type something in.

  • Very good point, option A is no good. I just tried it and if you use the placeholder attribute and set focus to it on page load, the help text never shows. Not good.
    – Iain
    Commented Oct 27, 2010 at 23:23

We went with a variant of your option C), so the help text isn't actually part of the edit box contents anymore.

  • I just tried it out, it works quite well. Nice work
    – Iain
    Commented Feb 5, 2011 at 6:38

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