We have to develop a new application which main function is to take photos/videos or browse existing photos from gallery and share them with FB friends.

In order to share photos/videos users shall navigate to camera and run it,than there is an option 'Browse from gallery' , from where user can access its gallery.

As I have investigated all the Android applications and social networks, all of them firstly ask 'From where to you want to browse?'and there is 2 option

1.Open gallery

2.Take new photos

The user is free to choose which one to open. He is not forced to first run the camera, which is heavy process for mobiles and than navigate to gallery.

Which way is the right way?Run the camera and than give the option to navigate to gallery? Or let the user to choose from the beginning , Camera or Gallery? Is there any guideline I could read?

Only Instagram first runs the camera and than gives an option for gallery.

  • Could you clarify which of the two functions you initially list is actually the main function? Or, is there indeed no "primary" function? If there is no primary function, and you see many other apps offer users the choice, what about your users/tests is leading you to try to pick one or the other as the "right" way?
    – jcmeloni
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 13:06
  • @jcmeloni the user has possibility to upload new photos to server and he has 2 choices, camera or gallery. Our main function is to allow him to upload new photos
    – saakian
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 13:10
  • Why would I not use my choice of camera app and then 'send to' your app? Or in fact Facebook directly?
    – JamesRyan
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 13:14
  • @JamesRyan When you share posts via this app, it does not go directly to your FB wall, but to a page, which is dedicated for that.besides, you cannot see them in web. If you want to see the posts you have to use this mobile app
    – saakian
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 13:19

3 Answers 3


Highly depends on what the purpose of your app is

  • If your app is primarily to "shoot and share" some random moment in life, then camera must be the most logical thing to open first. For instance, the camera app itself and QR/Bar code scanners.

  • But if your app is something like "share a bunch", this can only mean one thing: You snapped pictures beforehand. The gallery is a more reasonable choice.

From the performance perspective, the camera is the worst first choice. It's slow to start up, especially on low-end phones. It also takes time to focus. You also fumble around with the camera controls, which is very different on each device.

Also, I think the Facebook app (I'm on android), opens the gallery first but there's a camera button at the bottom. Gallery with a camera option seems a sound option. You could also make the first "picture" in the gallery a shortcut to the camera. That way, the camera button is at equal clickability as the albums or pictures in the gallery.

  • Joseph, thanks! the main function of the app is to share photos and videos. However, this is the 1st time we launch it, and I cannot be sure from where users will most likely upload photos. Even in Instagram, which primary goal is to "shoot and share" some random moment in life, as you said, does not serve much to its goal. Users always try to edit their photos in order to put them in Instagram.
    – saakian
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 14:02

I must say I have not seen the Instagram app myself, but I'm used to being able to select either a gallery or make a new picture.

Sometimes I have made the picture before I'm going to upload it to an app, and also if this is the case I think it'd be annoying if the camera always pops up first.

You should decide on how your users use the app though, since I can understand that when you're using Instagram you mostly want to take pictures instead of "edit" your old ones.

I can't find any guidelines on this, but under Popups there is an example in the design guide where they use the first option to let the user choose.



i would suggest the option of having all of the options available up front to select from. obscuring an option, especially when there are as few as 2, puts a subtle burden on the user.

in the instagram app for example, the gallery option is so subtle in that bottom left corner, that if the user didn't have the technical wherewithal to ask "hey, can i use a picture I've already taken?" they would have to ask/search how to do so. (I know I had to when I first got the app, haha). i don't think you have to consider either option right or wrong though.

  • I was investigated very long. I just wonder why Instagram has put it in that way? No any app runs the camera first
    – saakian
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 13:12
  • In my opinion, i think instagram tries too hard to be minimalistic, resulting in what i believe to be some confounding user situations, such as uploading pictures from existing albums or searching for users in your own followers/following list.
    – sheriff1
    Commented Apr 16, 2014 at 13:29

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