Speaking of Too Short

Man, do I think the whole “putting the control label in the control” thing is a bad design pattern for many reasons.

First and foremost, when you start typing or sometimes set focus to the control, the label disappears, and you won’t know what you’re supposed to type into the edit box. Oh, you know, your designers know, your developers know. But will your users know and/or remember?

Second, there’s what do you do with the label when the user saves the form? Does it get saved? What happens when the user clears the data from the control? Does it display again? Most of the time, at least on the rough cuts, this gets mangled. 60% of the time, it gets bollixed every time.

Third, there’s the matter of sizing and spacing the text in the edit box, which our friends at the Custom Showing Service illustrate:

CSS fail

In these fellows’ defense, it’s not just the label in the control that’s sized badly; even the information you type in the edit boxes is trimmed at the top and the bottom to the point of illegibility. I just wanted to use this excuse to lament the label-in-control design pattern.

In these days of super custom designs monkeying with the very nature of controls themselves, altering fonts in the controls, you’ve got to watch out for problems like this. Even if they’re just problems like this:

Just take a little off the bottom

In the old days, we didn’t have these problems. Labels were outside the control like they should be, and the default fonts fit in the default controls. I’d say “get off my lawn,” but I’m not sure I’ve left enough room for the tail on that g.

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