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I'm looking for a universal way of showing a user that the text they are looking at is an example of a valid input.

one example of for example

I'd like it to be as concise as possible and universally understood (i.e. 'For example' would need to be translated into different languages and I'm not even sure what i.e. stands for)

Does such a thing exist?

It's surprisingly hard to google information on "for example" equivalents so I turn to this awesome community in hopes that someone can provide data showing what works and what doesn't work.

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Designs should communicate in the most clear and concise way possible.

Although I'd argue that e.g., is understood by most english speakers, I'd also argue that 'For example' is not too verbose.

'For example' convey the concept in the most universal way. It's less than 3 words, so it can be read in a single fixation.

So I would just leave 'For example', particularly if the interface is to be translated.

I'd also have it as a placeholder instead of text below, but that may not be consistent with the rest of your system.

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Instead of putting it below each of your inputs, I would consider using a placeholder with your desired format.

So it would look something like this:

Placeholder Example

  • I like placeholders too but in some cases the example or hint below the input is required to change based on what the user is typing. still +1 for a valid answer – DaveAlger Jan 6 '15 at 17:20
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    Having the placeholder text inside the input field is not good for user experience. 1. It disappears when user is filling, so it's hard to remember what user is filling (and if user is using TAB to move inside the form and the field clears when he TABs into it), 2. users use eyetracking to scan for empty fields, so it's harder to find unfilled fields from fields with placeholders... etc. not good. – Samuel M Jan 7 '15 at 6:53
  • Don't use placeholders. Baymard says so. baymard.com/blog/mobile-forms-avoid-inline-labels – DLM Jan 7 '15 at 9:57
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answering only the translation part of your question:

  • german: zum Beispiel
  • french: par exemple
  • italian: per esempio
  • spanish: por ejemplo

so this works in those languages exactly the same as in english.

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