I've noticed designers using "..." at the end of inputs or search bars placeholders ("Enter your email address" vs "Enter your email address...") seemingly at random. Is this pattern codified anywhere (Accessibility standards, Open UX research standards, UX Laws, etc.)?

two search-bars; one has three dots on its placeholder, the other one doesn't

I'm aware of an affordability UI pattern for dropdown items where if there are "···" generally means that there is something else to come when you select it. Are these two connected somehow?

a select dropdown showcasing dropdown items with and without three dots

  • 1
    The three-dots, (officially known as an ellipsis) generally means that there is something else to come when you select it. Some very useful info on this question: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/9544/…
    – JonW
    Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 16:27
  • From an accessibility perspective (WCAG), there are no guidelines on using ellipses. In your "search" example, I would not expect them unless clicking on the search field opens up a dialog for typing in the search term. Commented Aug 22, 2023 at 23:25
  • In writing, ellipses are used to convey a pause or to imply something but not state it. I would think the author used the latter to state that it's up to the user to fill something in.
    – jazZRo
    Commented Aug 25, 2023 at 16:22
  • I'm confused, what do you mean by "something else to come when you select it?" does this mean a sub menu opens up? Or you navigate to a new page? Because from an accessibility, the three dots don't semantically mean anything, which is why you need to have aria tags or other relevant accessibility flags. A screen reader would just read it as that text. Related: developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/Accessibility/ARIA/Roles/…
    – UXerUIer
    Commented Feb 18 at 20:40
  • @UXerUIer this is a convention of early Windows and macOS versions which never really made it onto the web. As I pointed out in ux.stackexchange.com/a/145749/164315, it probably shouldn't be used anymore. Commented Feb 19 at 16:01

2 Answers 2


No I would not do that. There is no benefit for the user.

We decided that "..." at the end of the caption indicates a follow-up action.

Example: a modal dialogue for advanced search:

enter image description here

  • Who is "we" in your second line? Commented Feb 19 at 8:21

Including ellipses ("...") at the end of input placeholders is not a standard practice nor specifically recommended by accessibility guidelines. Generally, for clarity and to avoid confusion, it's advisable to use direct and concise placeholders without ellipses unless user testing shows a clear benefit.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.