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In a old mfc application i've some fields that are the decodification of others fields. For example, in the image below, i can edit the "title" dropdown with values Mr, Mrs ecc, and in the field next to it, i see the entire description "Mister"(this field is never editable): Title code and decodification

Now, i want give my app a look more modern (flat), so I would remove sunken style. I have the doubt how to change it: - if i leave border in the control, the field description could be interpreted as an editable textbox disabled -if i remove border, it seems a label

Any idea to make clear the concept that the field description is not editable, but is different from a label and from a textbox?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I wouldn't use input fields for description or helper text. It's not a matter of styling as much as semantics. Input fields are meant for data entry, they might conditionally be disabled in some cases, but if that input field is always going to be disabled, then maybe it's not supposed to be an input field.

There are a few ways you can show helper text. Typically I would put it right underneath the relevant input field and use slightly smaller font size.

The case you describe sounds a bit different than a typical help text though. I would consider using full words instead of the abbreviations in the dropdown. Or perhaps show both together.


download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

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