Invisible Text Fields

What’s the deal with the fairly new trend of making text fields invisible? Yes, you can tab between the fields but many people are frustrated when they try to click their mouse on the field and have trouble finding it. (Especially when it’s off to the side). There is also a trend of making text so light in color that it’s hard to read, especially for older users. Developers need consider that every user is not 20 years old but, like me, 71 years old.

I’ve talked to other people who have noticed this same trend from web designers who create invisible text fields. You see it when you’re signing up for an account on different sites. I can’t come up with the examples of the really bad ones but here’s a couple below that do have invisible fields. These fields happen to be right below the name of the field so they are not as bad. (It’s still weird that they don’t put a visible border around the text field). The really bad examples that I can’t come up with right now put the fields off to the side and you have to click your mouse all over the place trying to find the field! I’m not crazy when I say I’ve seen this on multiple web sites . I just can’t come up with examples right now. In general, I’m seeing multiple web sites where lots of other things are so light that they are hard to see. It is an obvious trend. Others agree that it is a new trend that’s very frustrating.

Thank You

Michael L Douthat

Examples of hidden text fields

Well I don’t know about a ‘new trend’, but there was an old trend and purpose for these kinds of fields.

It’s called a honeypot. It’s designed to catch bots; humans aren’t supposed to find those fields, and leave them blank. If the field is filled in, it’s a sign that a robot is crawling the page and filling in form data, and so the form should be rejected.

That doesn’t sound like the “trend” that I’m talking about. I’ve discussed this with other ordinary people who are not developers and they agree that this “seems” to be a fairly new trend and is frustrating. Your answer doesn’t seem to fit my complaint. With many forms I’m seeing, you can’t determine if you’re supposed to put your mouse on the name of the field, below the field, or somewhere else.

Well, You’ve provided one link, in which I cannot see any field that is missing, or invisible, or in any way not where i would expect it to be.

Can you specify how the form you have linked to demonstrates this ‘trend’?

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Exactly. :lol:


Ditto, I don’t see it either.

Comparing the form with the source code, I count 16 visible inputs in both. The source shows 4 hidden fields used for CAPTCHA.
So nothing is hidden that shouldn’t be hidden.
It may be the light grey used for the boxes you find difficult to see. Either way it is a poor form for accessibility, the code shows they don’t use label tags to name the inputs.
A table layout in a non-responsive page is poor too in this age, and tends to make me think this is not a recent page, certainly not something that follows a “new trend”, it’s quite old-school IMO.

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I did find an example of the kind of entry page I’m talking about. The fields are invisible and off to the right.

Again, the borders are there, but so pale that if your eyesight (or monitor) is at all iffy, then you will be unlikely to see them.

I’d guess the intention is to make the form look “elegant”, but in my book, they’d be better to make it easily usable. smile

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It’s not so much a trend, but annoyingly “beautifully designed” by graphical “web designers” with carefully hardware calibrated screens. They could wreck any web site and are a horror to trained designers and web coders.

I fully agree with @TechnoBear.

We have a dedicated department for this phenomenon: the Accessibility forum. :slightly_smiling_face:

When you call the poorly contrasted inputs “invisible” I think you are actually making the same mistake as those designers; seeking to get their view expressed without regard to the receiver’s ability to see what is in your mind.

The response you’ve got shows that most of the answers misses your point.

Again, to me, the fields are visible, and precisely where they appear to be.

I admit to not being 70 or having poor eyesight (though i do wear glasses, I acknowledge this is not the form of poor eyesight you refer to), but to me the form is entirely legible.

Even with poor eyesight, the existance of the dropdown default texts would indicate the location of the fields to those that cannot see the border around the boxes.

While the form could benefit from some placeholder text perhaps, I don’t find the form in particular offense of invisibility, shrug

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I think by “invisible” you mean “hard to read”. Not quite the same thing.

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