[thelist] Accessibility/usability of "Select Option" at top of list

Stephen Rider evolt_org at striderweb.com
Tue Jan 16 09:27:32 CST 2007

On Jan 15, 2007, at 11:02 AM, Sarah Adams wrote:

> after all, you wouldn't pre-fill a text box with "Type Name" would  
> you?

Actually, this type of thing is frequently useful in non-web  
applications I use.  The most intuitive way to do it (and I've seen  
this in non-web apps -- not sure how you might do it in HTML) is to  
have the words appear in the field in a different color (gray is  
common) and in a way that they don't actually register to the program  
as something typed there, and so they disappear as soon as the cursor  
is in the field.

I think it's a good way to simplify a crowded form without losing  
useability.  Again, not sure how one might do it properly in a web  
form, but I would be interested to know how.  (I suppose it would  
require some JavaScript.)

A good example:  In the Safari web browser, the search field in the  
toolbar says "Google" in it.  Tab or click to put the cursor there,  
those words disappear.  Change the search engine, and the name of the  
search engine appears there.  It would be a total waste of screen  
real estate to have the word "Google" or "Search" or whatever outside  
that text field.   (Firefox does this too, but adds a redundant icon  
next to the search field.)


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