I am designing an application service for a mobile phone. The user must submit a bunch of photographs and documents "the application".

The way I have designed it, documents are stored locally then uploaded all at once at the end.

But the existing service uploads as the user goes along, one at a time.

Pros and cons:

Has anyone got any evidence of what might work better? A big draw back of the existing API is user cannot preview files once uploaded.

2 Answers 2


What about a summary about what is actually being done?
You could start uploading a file as the user goes, and show the list with their status at the end, or make this available at all times.

If you want the user to be able to fix any mistake:

  • The user can see which file is uploaded, uploading, to upload or if an error occurred.
  • The user should be able to delete/cancel/remove/retry a file.
  • The user should be able to add new files.

I don't know if this can be done in your case. But Gmail don't wait to send an email to upload attachments and you can still remove/cancel or add another file.
When you add attachments it looks like this:
Gmail uploading attachments

  • This recommendation works for both options but if we apply is to the 'reasons against' users uploading as they go it pretty much removes all the concerns.
    – It's Dylan
    May 21, 2020 at 17:20

I highly recommend letting users upload a file one at a time like this:

enter image description here

This way, you can rely on native file uploading with little room for error.

I'd even use this pattern if users need to upload multiple files, you just change the final screen to show which files have been added so far and let users decide whether they want to add another a bit like this:

enter image description here

But, it may be that this is a little long winded for people who are using your service on a regular and repeated basis.

In this case you could consider letting users upload multiple files at once a bit like this:

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

Good luck and let us know how you get on.

  • Tx Adam. GDS is always a starting point (I've passed Alpha GDS assessment with my team).
    – colmcq
    Jun 11, 2020 at 10:46
  • Congrats @colmcq Jun 11, 2020 at 14:57

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