One thing that design systems, style guides, and, uh I guess the content of your website if you sell paint all do at some point is display the colors available in a palette.

Usually with <div style="background-color: …">, but I think we can do better than that. My vote goes to:

  <label>My favorite shade of raspberry:
  <input type="color" disabled value="#bf1942"/>
</label>

It’s a color. Semantically.

  • You can give it a name with <label>.

  • Its value is accessibly exposed by assistive technology.

  • It will show up as the correct hue no matter the accessibility settings, like High-Contrast Mode. Color inversion mode should also have some special dispensation for it.

  • User stylesheets leave it be. (Yes, people use those. Check out Stylish/Stylus.)

  • With appearance and some goofity ::-webkit pseudo-elements, you can style it just fine.

(I’d prefer readonly to disabled — which even seems to work in most browsers — but sadly the spec only allows the readonly attribute on other types of <input>.)

Are you kidding me Safari

So like, it’s somewhat expected that IE11 isn’t down with the input[type=color], but Safari? It’s in the next version as of this writing… on desktop only.

Anyway, this is the next best thing:

  <figure>
  <figcaption>My favorite shade of raspberry:</figcaption>
  <svg width="3em" height="3em" aria-label="#bf1942">
    <rect fill="#bf1942"
      width="100%" height="100%"/>
  </svg>
</figure>

Bleh, though.

This does have the advantage of showing off colors that don’t fit within hex codes, though. The fill attribute has bonus flexibility:

  • Keywords like peachpuff and transparent
  • Other, more human-friendly syntax like hsl()
  • Semitransparent colors with rgba() and even the new #rrggbbaa syntax
  • Or even pattern and gradient swatches with SVG’s <pattern> <linearGradient>, and <radialGradient>!

You know what’s worse? Desktop Safari still don’t support <input type="date">. If only macOS had some sort of date picker built in.


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