I have a search field in a web application where the user will be able to use different key words to search on. I want to inform the user what he will find (in this example, it is a person) and what words to use when search (in this example, name, number, address etc.)

This is what I got so far enter image description here

But I am not certain this is the right kind of words to use. Does any of you have a better idea of terminology?

  • 1
    As far as I can se, that will work out just fine. What makes you hesitate? Sep 1, 2016 at 7:05
  • I don't see any problems too. Sep 1, 2016 at 7:17
  • In the beginning, I was stuck on the word "Search". I wanted to use that word instead of "FInd person:". But of course, I dont want to repeat myself (since the button also says "search"). And since I am not native English, I wanted to make sure this is the correct way to use it :)
    – efrethe
    Sep 1, 2016 at 7:17
  • I use this thumb rule to go with inputs: Labels should define that what are you supposed to enter in the field Placeholders (if any) should display an example input Many inputs have become a part of the convention - like search in apps now rarely uses a label and just a placeholder is enough. Sep 28, 2016 at 13:38

2 Answers 2


The label you have is a clear indication of what is being searched for and the default search text lists the various terms that users can search for in a really clear manner.

Call to actions should be labelled with the action performed when clicking it; so as per the comments, your proposed solution is a perfect fit for user expectation in this scenario.


It communicates what it does and how it works, nothing wrong with that. Lets break it down to take away some of your concerns:

  • "Find person" as a label will be fine to use as it communicates the desired result (not the action)
  • The placeholder hints at some criteria to fill in but also encourages experimenting
  • The button communicates the exact action

The only problem I see is not the used language but the placeholder that holds essential information for the user. It's low contrast can be an accessibility issue as is the fact that some browsers hide it when the field has focus. I suggest to move it outside the field. The placeholder can be used to show an example but should not contain essential information. A little more detail can be found in this UX SE question which points to this great article by Nielsen Norman Group.

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