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In a mobile application, (on iOS to be exact) I would like to propose the user to import its own images, let's say twelve images for a calendar.

If the images are not present on the device, I would like to propose him to browse the Web until he has found everything he wants. Is it a good idea, and if so, what advices do you have ?

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You are asking a UX question and another implementation question. Can you just stick to the UX issues and give your reasoning for the decision you mention here. – rk. May 21 '13 at 16:58

The risk you take is sending the user down a rabbit hole: They may not return. You'll have to make the leap very intuitive.

A rough idea of the requirements:

  • Keep them close by wrapping the browsing experience within your app and providing extended functionality.
  • Provide some kind of control in the browser to make selecting images a simple tap action.
  • Add those images to a holding tank with visual feedback so the user can track their progress.
  • The app stores progress to allow incremental completion. IOW, let them save their progress and come back to it the next time they're bored out of their mind in a meeting.

Alternatively, you could plug into existing image search APIs (Google, Flickr, SXC, etc) to provide an embedded image searching feature. That would not only be slick, it would be much easier to control from a programming perspective.

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You should browse the web for ther user. It is an application after all, so it is supposed to the job for her: the user is using your application and she does not expect to go in and out in order to use it properly.

Find the images for her and it is going to feel all magical.

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Always be careful with taking the user outside the application. Users get distracted and don't come back.

Let's assume it's an app that puts a photo for each month. The user will find natural that if the photos are not in the phone library, the user needs to go and find ones either online or on their computer and pass them to the phone.

Depending on how the embedded browser is implemented and how much hassle it is, the likelihood of the user to come back to the app changes. Unless it's beautifully integrated, I would suggest expecting the user to have all the images in the library. The user will be prepared and it will be faster to create the calendar.

Think about how would the app look with facebook, google images, etc embedded. If the solution doesn't look good or reduces the screen size considerable, I would suggest not taking this approach.

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