Suppose we've got a form with a number of input supported with labels and placeholder.

Label helps to identify the whole input idea (whether it's for First name or Salary). The purpose of placeholder is to provide an example of input data.

  1. Is it fine to place first/last name examples in placeholder (that just seem a little weird for me, because label's already provided some info), isn't this too verbose?
  2. Won't leaving some placeholders blank somehow mislead users?

2 Answers 2


This depends on how simple or complicated the format is that your fields require. If the input is required in a special/not-so-intuit form you can use spaceholders but i would not use it only on some fields.

Think about adding tooltips or a label in smaller font under the textfield with more information. E.g. under a textfield for a email-address you can write "* required. Must be valid. No spam from us."

At 2) i don't think it will mislead the user but is not so good looking. if you add placeholders you can maybe do that with a light grey font instead of black (if user input is displayed black).

  • Currently I'm thinking about a small-font tooltip right below label, but there's no need in placeholders. I think instead of placeholders it's better to use some sort of on-focus tooltip.
    – DeTeam
    Aug 15, 2013 at 8:31

Placeholder values are typically used as a means of prompting input-appropriate formatting (such as [email protected]). If you do use them, they shouldn't be the only means of describing the input being requested (Does the content of the HTML5 placeholder attribute affect usability?).

They're also often used to help the user identify which fields are necessary (marked as required within placeholder) and which are not. In this sense, appropriate use and absence of placeholders actually works to reduce user confusion.

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