What do you get for using a search input type?

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Chris Coyier on (Updated on )

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Like this: <input type="search">

  1. You get an extra-round-y appearance in Safari, which at one time matched the macOS look for search inputs, but not really anymore. I don’t hate the look, except…
  2. Safari totally ignores the font-size you set on it, so careful about that. Unless you smash off the round-y look with -webkit-appearance: none (I guess unprefixed going forward) — then you can, so probably 92% of all websites do this.
  3. You get a little × icon inside the input (when it has a value) that clears it out. This is probably the best reason to use it, and mercifiully you get to keep it even after resetting the appearance.
  4. You get the satisfaction of knowing that you’re using the semantically correct input type for the job, assuming you are building a thing that actually searches something.
  5. You get past search terms with autocomplete. Browsers store those past search terms and offer a menu for autocompleting them. I’m trying to make this a list of things that are unique to search inputs, and I can prove this happens on non-search inputs. But hey, it does make the most sense on search inputs.
  6. You get the pleasure of adding a role to the parent form (i.e. <form role="search">) because that helps assistive technology announce it as a search form.
  7. You get to remember to add a proper <label> to the input. Just using a magnifying glass icon or just a placeholder alone won’t cut it, even though that’s what a lot of designs call for visually.
  8. You get a super weird incremental attribute that sends a debounced search event to the DOM element itself. I guess that is useful for live search UX. But it’s non-standard and not in Firefox so probably don’t count on it (via Christian Shaefer).
  9. You get to live another day as a front-end developer.