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What about the blinking time?

Should it blink eternally until the user interacts?

I see that on Firefox 117, the blink stops after some seconds whereas it doesn't on chromium browsers. Is the timeout a webbrowser parameter?

is there a best practice for it?

short blinking

long/infinite blinking

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The vertical blinking bar in input fields, or "cursor" (also "caret" but less common, although it's used in CSS) indicates where the next characters will be inserted. Its blinking behavior can serve as a visual cue to users, signaling that the field is active and ready for input.

Generally, the choice of whether the cursor should blink eternally or stop after a certain timeout is a design decision made by browser developers. This behavior comes from old computers where you actually had blinking blocks at the beginning of a prompt line (or inverted blocks if the cursor was over some text) and was invented and patented by Charles Kiesling.

Different browsers have different behaviors, as you've observed. This difference is usually due to the browser's design and not a W3C standard, which includes a lot about cursors and how to modify them, but blinking speed is not one of the options to modify since it's browser based. However, while the timeout can be considered a browser parameter, some systems allow for customization, as seen in these old Oracle docs.

Now, AFAIK, there isn't a universally accepted best practice for cursor blinking behavior. However, a few considerations can guide the decision:

  • User Comfort: Aim to minimize potential distractions for users. If the target audience is more likely to be distracted by a constantly blinking caret, consider implementing a timeout.

  • Consistency: If you're developing a web application with custom input fields (using Canvas or WebGL, for instance), strive for consistent behavior across all fields and platforms.

  • Accessibility: Ensure that blinking rates (if implemented) are not too rapid, as excessively fast blinking can be disturbing or even trigger photosensitive reactions in some users.

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