I'm creating a web application with batch adding and batch editting function. Could anyone suggest an interface on how this will go about?

Im using PHP as the server side language. I am creating an admin tool and I would like to batch add users with their details like name, address, telephone number, age, birthday, address, country, city. I would like to add at least 10 users at the same time on the same page. I'm thinking of creating something like the wamp server's interface when inserting rows at the database but I think it will be too cluttered for at least 10 user details at the same time. Any ideas would be much appreciated.

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    Curious to know: how does adding 10 users at a time help you -- what does that bring you?
    – jk1
    Nov 5, 2011 at 19:06
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    Related: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/2980/… Nov 5, 2011 at 19:09
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    You need to tell us why simultaneous adding is important; why upload of a spreadsheet or DB feed isn't possible; the audience; the context, and the workflow surrounding the upload. Nov 6, 2011 at 16:37

4 Answers 4


Ok, so the first question to ask is: why is it important to add these users simultaneously, rather than one at a time? Can you be certain that your user will already have every account's details prepared? Depending on the situation, you may still need a mechanism for users not to upload everyone all at once, or at least save a group before completing them.

Are you adding all the users at the same time because there's some kind of relationship between them? That could influence the interface, too. Without knowing more, it's almost impossible to say what sort of design you should deploy.

In any case, broadly speaking, web users aren't familiar with spreadsheet-like editable tables. It isn't a common pattern. What is common for, though, is to handle multiple entities with multiple form divs - each form 'box' representing a account. Consider the following:

enter image description here

One of the advantages of this pattern is that you can use vertical order to signify hierarchy and relationships between the accounts you're adding (assuming there is one). You can also use animation to suggest action - eg entries 'flying off' to the right as they get submitted to the database.

Without knowing more about your product, though, I'm not sure I can really say much else.

  • Yes, data of the users are readily available. It just needs to be uploaded simultaneously since it will be quite a hassle to add it one at at time. Regarding your suggestion, will it be saved single row at a time? Wouldn't it be hard to batch add it given that each row has their own form? Nov 6, 2011 at 6:59
  • It won't be as quick as adding via a web spreadsheet. But spreadsheets aren't a common pattern, and in almost all cases where a user has a massive amount of data to put into an application, they'll already have a file they can upload. They won't go about manual entry. Nov 6, 2011 at 16:23

If one person has to do all the work adding account, it's a pain in the arse. So offload it to the individual users.

Have a single large field into which any number of email addresses can be added - using spaces to determine break between entries. This in return fires off an email invite to each of the recipients with a link for them to each set up their own account. In the list of 'people for the admin interface - those who have not yet completed their account will be listed by email address only with some for of 'invited' status, and a 'resend invite' link. Admin can still edit each account by hand if necessary.

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    You're suggesting that the users go through the trouble of adding themselves for the sake of using the website, instead of a staff member doing it because he gets paid to... Offloading your own work to your users - not high on the usability best practices list :) Nov 5, 2011 at 21:54

I would use a table with each row being a user. I would start it off with 10 rows with the option to add more rows. The idea is with this the user can tab to fields without too much mouse interaction

add more rows options

| Name | Telephone | Age | Birthday | Address | Country |

Add users button

Could you work out the users birthday from the DOB? then they'll be one less field to input


Oracle's BLAF guidelines have detailed batch processing patterns that may fit your scenario. (http://download.oracle.com/tech/blaf/specs/batchdetail_template.html) I find this library very useful for design exemplars for transactional flows.

  • Would it be possible to include a summary, or at least an overview, of the information that the link contains?
    – Brendon
    Jun 13, 2013 at 14:37

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