I'm going to have a small box on my website where visitors can input their email address to subscribe to my website newsletter. It looks like this, and will have a light text placeholder in the box where users enter their email.

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Does it make a difference what the placeholder is, as far as what the user does? Also, what placeholder should be used? Should it be a generic one like [email protected], or should it be related to my domain name? Also, does using the term domain.com seem confusing for some users, and if it does, what should I use for a generic email address?

1 Answer 1


I would discourage you from using "technical" terms. Misusing placeholders can cause accessibility issues, confusion, and violate the HTML5 spec.

It's important to note that placeholders are not substitutes for labels.

I would encourage you to do 3 things.

1. Shorten the copy

"Sign up for news and updates" would do just fine. "Urgent" makes it seem scary, which isn't good unless you want to scare users into signing up.

2. Use [email protected]

Explicitly addressing users with "you" transfers ownership.

3. Explicitly label the field with email or email address

Hope that helps.

  • I forgot about example.com. This way, if they actually put that in, they go to the reserved example.com website instead of domain.com, which is for purchasing domains. Apr 30, 2014 at 11:33
  • 1
    "Explicitly addressing users with "you" transfers ownership.". Great point!
    – AKS
    Apr 30, 2014 at 14:37
  • Thank you both. @PhoenixLogan I forgot about that, to be honest, but upon doing a little poking around, it seems like everyone uses it. Feel free to edit my answer to reflect your change!
    – SwankyLegg
    Apr 30, 2014 at 14:39

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