I am working on a project that allows users to edit objects named by clicking on it using something similar to the HTML 5 Content-editable attribute.


  • The character limit is 30 not three.
  • Also the input field is meant to have the counter below it much like twitter has

However we need a way to notify the users of the 30 character limit to their object name. My first hypothesis is to use a text counter like the ones twitter uses.

Are there are some examples of other techniques that we can apply or does the method applied to a textarea field work best for an input as well?


  • 1
    inside and input field? extremely NOT recommended, specially if you have a 3 character limit, where is the counter supposed to fit? Instead, you can add it below the input field, or simply add a generic warning on top, and then validate if >3 characters
    – Devin
    Jun 2, 2016 at 16:56
  • thanks sorry if I wrote inside the input field. What I meant to say was below the input field similar to what twitter does. Jun 3, 2016 at 3:08

3 Answers 3


You and Google material design have already described a good solution to your problem. The method applies well to both text areas and text input fields, so don't hesitate to use this approach. See the image below:

enter image description here


My bank has a strict 5-digit pincode policy and the input looks like as many underscores as there are characters allowed. It's very minimalist, yet you quickly get that each corresponds to a character. Here's an approximate rendering of it:

_ _ _ _ _
  • I actually like that idea a great deal. Its intuitive and interesting. I think this would be a great alternative to a normal counter. Jun 3, 2016 at 3:12

In my opinion, you could use "helper text" inside your input, which describes number of characters. In my example i use "abc" text as help. One letter typed by the user replaces one letter of the helper text.

enter image description here

  • I like the idea of this, it is essentially just an input-mask except the placeholder remains visible. It will only work for short values though, you wont want to enforce a 300char limit with a ton of placeholder text. It also begs the question what default text do you use thats not confusing.
    – DasBeasto
    Jun 2, 2016 at 20:12
  • I agree that I like the idea of a placeholder mask. I don't know that we have any placeholder text that would make the most sense context wise however. Thanks guys these ideas are really helpful Jun 3, 2016 at 3:15

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