Page MenuHomePhabricator

Remove placeholder text or labels from login form (Special:UserLogin) inputs
Open, LowPublic

Description

The placeholder text at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:UserLogin should be removed.

"Enter your username" and "Enter your password" is unnecessary and possibly insulting to the user (it can be read as condescending). Looking at other sites, it seems the practice of using both a placeholder and a label is uncommon for fields of this nature.


On mobile (with smartphone media query, not tablet) the placeholders take a more important role, as they are the only field indicators.
That's questionable on it's own, as the information, what field the user is currently typing in, is disappearing after the first character is typed.

Should we improve the Voice & Tone of the placeholders or get rid of them?

DesktopMobile (showing the issue when User is typing)Mobile (Tablet)
Sign Up

Version: 1.22.0

Details

Reference
bz49018

Event Timeline

bzimport raised the priority of this task from to Low.Nov 22 2014, 1:45 AM
bzimport set Reference to bz49018.
bzimport added a subscriber: Unknown Object (MLST).

swalling wrote:

(In reply to comment #0)

The placeholder text at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:UserLogin
should be removed.

"Enter your username" and "Enter your password" is unnecessary and possibly
insulting to the user (it can be read as condescending).

The usability tests we've run to date (http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Account_creation_user_experience/User_testing) don't support this assumption. I agree we could make this language friendlier (e.g. Choose a username or something else less commanding), but so far the people actually needing to use this interface seem to read and appreciate the placeholder text more than the labels.

Looking at other
sites, it seems the practice of using both a placeholder and a label is
uncommon for fields of this nature.

Yes, ideally we should just pick one.

Placeholder text is so far our preferred choice based on usability tests and consultation with the design team. It would free up a lot of vertical space in the forms, among other benefits.

The only thing holding us back from removing the labels entirely is cross-browser support, which frankly really sucks in most older browsers. (See examples like bug 48918).

Isarra added a comment.Jun 1 2013, 1:16 AM

Given that placeholders are both unreliable and also go away when the user enters something (despite often still being relevant and/or useful), removing the labels in favour of those isn't really a good idea.

And since the placeholders are completely redundant with the labels here, I would say that yes, the placeholders should indeed be removed from the login form.

For what it's worth, Twitter seems to use only placeholders: https://twitter.com/login.

But I agree with everything Isarra said. The browser support doesn't seem to be what we want it to be and the fix here (simply removing the placeholders) seems really cheap and easy to implement.

Which parts of the usability studies looked at the use of placeholder text? I cant see it on mediawiki.org
http://www.mediawiki.org/w/index.php?search=%22enter+your+username%22&title=Special%3ASearch
What type of testing was done, and how significant was the benefit of adding placeholder texts.

I am surprised that usability studies would recommend "Enter your username" for type=signup?? IMO that is a bug (Bug 52974).

Would someone care to explain why "redundant" is inherently a bad thing.

Visual redundancy like this isn't entirely uncommon or bad. Sometimes the repetition with slight variance can subtly make something easier to understand.
The "redundant is bad" sentiment here looks like a common mistake of developers thinking something is bad based on some form of logic which doesn't necessarily always match up with reality.

(In reply to comment #5)

Would someone care to explain why "redundant" is inherently a bad thing.

It looks bad, it can potentially insult or worse yet, confuse users (instruction overload is a real thing), and it's more to translate.

It is also, in this case, utterly unnecessary.

Visual redundancy like this isn't entirely uncommon or bad. Sometimes the
repetition with slight variance can subtly make something easier to
understand.

Common isn't necessarily a good thing or a bad thing - it's just a norm. For more complex things you might be right about different explanations helping users to understand, but a login form is far from complex.

And consider this - if someone honestly cannot figure out the login form for any reason besides a real bug, do we even want them? Picture them trying to figure out the edit or upload forms, let alone even more complex issues such as copyright, behavioural guidelines, content policy...

The "redundant is bad" sentiment here looks like a common mistake of
developers
thinking something is bad based on some form of logic which doesn't
necessarily
always match up with reality.

First you say it's common to be redundant and then it's common to consider redundancy bad. I'd say to make up your mind, but I'm not sure it's all that important either way - the specific use case we're worrying about should be far more relevant than what is common in general.

This also might explain why both things might be common - the correct approach depends on what you're doing, not on what everyone else is doing.

(In reply to comment #5)

Would someone care to explain why "redundant" is inherently a bad thing.

I'm not sure anyone suggested it was inherently bad, but it seems unnecessary here.

Do other sites use both an input label and placeholder text for their login form?

@Puneethchanda: Hi! As you claimed this task, how is it going? Do you need any help?

Aklapper removed Puneethchanda as the assignee of this task.Feb 17 2019, 7:46 AM
Aklapper added a subscriber: Puneethchanda.

@Puneethchanda: I am resetting the assignee of this task because there has not been progress lately (please correct me if I am wrong!).
Resetting the assignee avoids the impression that somebody is already working on this task. It also allows others to potentially work towards fixing this task.
Please claim this task again when you plan to work on it (via Add Action...Assign / Claim in the dropdown menu) - it would be welcome! Thanks for your understanding!