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Always use a label (medium.com)

over 3 years ago from , Interaction designer focused on inclusive design and design systems

29 comments

  • Dan Charlesworth, over 3 years ago

    Only bad designers deal in absolutes

    15 points
  • Thompson GeorgeThompson George, over 3 years ago

    This is also a good read about the subject.

    https://www.nngroup.com/articles/form-design-placeholders/

    8 points
    • Dan GDan G, over 3 years ago

      Yeah this. My only criticism with this article is that it didn't really need to be written, it's already an understood principle as there are so many articles about it, particularly Nielsen.

      2 points
    • Adam Silver, over 3 years ago

      Excellent read. Thanks for sharing.

      0 points
  • Janis VegisJanis Vegis, over 3 years ago

    Ye!

    1 point
  • Spencer HoltawaySpencer Holtaway, over 3 years ago (edited over 3 years ago )

    Headline: something absolute

    Comments: don't tell me what to do!

    /designernews

    1 point
  • Lev MiseriLev Miseri, over 3 years ago

    I really dislike the tone of the article—talking from a position of self-proclaimed expert holding the truth. Without any room for discussion. It's also taking it to an extreme.

    There are so many things to consider when designing forms. Is it for mobile? Then perhaps floating labels would be by far the better solution. Is it just a login + a password field? Then using labels could potentially harm the aesthetics and even add visual noise (saying they are essential for the form to function is simply not true—again, depends on whole bunch of other stuff).

    Label being essential for a search field is simply non-sense. Arguments:

    A) the search icon with a placeholder serves as a good enough visual cue, strong label won't add anything (same kind of data-less rhetoric Adam is using)

    B) That can be easily solved in the code

    C) Just don't make the field too small. Also—again—solvable with a code, making the area larger.

    0 points
    • Adam Silver, over 3 years ago

      I simply provided 3 good reasons why labels are useful to all types of users.

      There are so many things to consider when designing forms. Is it for mobile?

      There is no mobile

      Then perhaps floating labels would be by far the better solution.

      Is floating labels actually solving a problem—a real problem?

      Is it just a login + a password field?

      I also referenced why relying on placeholders is problematic in the article, especially as a replacement for labels.

      the search icon with a placeholder serves as a good enough visual cue, strong label won't add anything (same kind of data-less rhetoric Adam is using)

      Agreed, that "search" as a label wouldn't help much visually but I address that here if you're interested.

      B) That can be easily solved in the code

      Yep hidden via CSS in an accessible way.

      C) Just don't make the field too small. Also—again—solvable with a code, making the area larger.

      Yes, this is true when considered in isolation.

      When you consider the overall design, and when designing for the open web, the idea would not be to reduce clutter and lose clarity. That just makes it harder to use.

      P.S. More than happy to have a discussion—that's what this is :)

      Hope this helps.

      1 point
      • P GBP GB, over 3 years ago (edited over 3 years ago )

        There is no mobile

        A talk from 2011, that also has the word 'Web' on the end of the title isn't much use. I'd be worried if you're following advice from 2011, things have changed quite a lot since then.

        That aside, that talk is about the mobile 'Web', as you know, forms appear all over the place. Say what you will about not believing there’s a mobile web vs desktop web (I'd probably agree) but there are definitely native apps, which may need forms, and are certainly 'mobile'.

        Is floating labels actually solving a problem—a real problem?

        Yes. It's solving the problems you raise in your article. Trust me when I tell you that Google did more research & testing when they introduced the form style in Material than you have.

        Agreed, that "search" as a label wouldn't help much visually but I address that here if you're interested.

        You're not addressing anything. It's your opinion that Smashing mags application is 'beautiful' - I wouldn't agree. Arguing that you need a label on a search field is just pushing the accessibility argument to extremes for the sake of it. Interestingly, I'd have expected an accessibility evangelist like yourself to have issues with the contrast on smashing mags label.

        Honestly, I’m all for you having an opinion, but several people have provided perfectly acceptable solutions to the problems you’ve raised here and you’ve just repeated the same points back at them. I’m all for an accessible web, but it’s not as black and white as you make it out to be. Material style forms do solve most of these issues, but like most of these things it’s a question best answered by working out what’s best for a particular project, there is no one size fits all answer.

        0 points
        • Adam Silver, over 3 years ago (edited over 3 years ago )

          Date or modernity is not an indicator of whether something is relevant/good/bad or not. That's appealing to novelty.

          I don't trust something because Google does it. Appealing to Authority there.

          I agree about the Smashing Magazine contrast - but I was addressing one topic at a time :D

          And just to be clear, I am talking about websites. Not Native Apps.

          2 points
          • Thompson GeorgeThompson George, over 3 years ago

            I agree with Adam

            1 point
          • P GBP GB, over 3 years ago

            I'm not sure you've really got a good enough grasp of logical fallacies to start throwing them around in anger, but it's fine.

            Here's why the first point isn't 'appealing to novelty' - it wasn't a situation where two things were being compared. At no point did I claim that 'x' is better because it's newer. Questioning the accuracy of an article published in 2011 about something as fast moving as the web is not appealing to novelty. There might be an argument if I directly compared a technique discussed in 2011 article vs one discussed in a 2016 article, but I didn't. Even in that case, saying 'that’s a bit out of date now' is a perfectly valid argument when we’re talking about the web, which moves pretty fast. The same techniques may not have existed when the article was published, new technology/information changes things, suggesting that an article from 2011 is out of date is in no way a logical fallacy.

            The appeal to authority one is closer, but considering my point was based on my own experience it's risky ground. I'm not one for saying 'x company are big therefore x company must do it right', however saying 'I used to work for x company and worked with their testing and accessibility teams directly and know the standards they work to' is a tad different. Sure, I gave no indication that I had worked for Google when I made the comment, but I did tell you trust me.

            And just to be clear - why is the web different to native apps when it comes to accessibility? I'm not sure it is, were still dealing with screens and content displayed on them, after all.

            0 points
        • Jim SilvermanJim Silverman, over 3 years ago

          Trust me when I tell you that Google did more research & testing when they introduced the form style in Material than you have.

          i'm sure Google also did plenty of research & testing on the hamburger menu they included in Material Design, a design pattern that's almost universally frowned upon at this point. they've since backtracked a bit and added a more usable bottom navigation bar to the spec.

          point being, there's no harm in questioning the effectiveness of established patterns.

          1 point
    • Thompson GeorgeThompson George, over 3 years ago

      Did the tone hurt your feelings Lev?

      1 point
  • Robert KennerRobert Kenner, over 3 years ago

    Yea. To say that we always need to use labels in ALL contexts could be a bold assumption.

    I can see the importance of using labels when you are design for longer arbitrary forms, but what about the places where the required information is common convention and expected (log in prompts)? In those cases, it may be ok to take some risk, just as long as you keep a close eye on it.

    0 points
  • Eoghan ReidEoghan Reid, over 3 years ago

    Image title

    0 points