Synonyms: placeholder text, textfield placeholder, field placeholder, filler

Placeholder indicates to the user what content is expected or to what format, it is a hint towards the desired answer (filler text, generated to fill space or provide unremarkable and/or standardised text) that sits within a field.




«hold a place in my heart»

Unfortunately, user testing continually shows that placeholders in form fields often hurt usability more than help it. Some forms replace field labels with in-field placeholder text to reduce clutter on the page, or to shorten the length of the form. While this approach is based on good intentions, our research shows that it has many negative consequences:

  1. Disappearing text strains short-term memory
  2. It is easy to forget
  3. The form will be uncheckable without labels
  4. Impossible to fix the problem when errors occur
  5. Placeholder text disappears too early by navigating with the keyboard
  6. Fields with stuff in them are less noticeable
  7. Users may mistake a placeholder for data that was automatically filled in
  8. Occasionally users have to delete placeholder text manually

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