Some may laugh at the description of problems some of these users have experienced, but honestly, who cares if they really were dumber than a bunch of rocks? We're not professors grading them. We're trying to get them to just use our stuff without frustration. If dumb people can't use our sites, we have failed. Even if your target audience is rocket surgeons. No, actually especially if they are.

It appears years of Javascripted placeholders has trained most of us (including me) to expect the temporary text will vanish the moment the input receives focus. This despite the fact that this is a sucky way of doing it: going through a form, many users (including me) hit tab right away to finish the previous field, before our eyes have gone looking for the next label.

So most browsers (not Opera I notice, but Firefox has switched) are currently showing the HTML5 placeholder attribute the way webkit first did: the placeholder remains until the user actually tries to type something. While this is really a better way to do placeholders, the above mail shows it's still a problem for users, who've been trained to try to remove placeholder text if it does not vanish once focus is on the input.

So, interesting to hear these anecdotes regarding placeholders. Anyone have any good usability stories out there?