On most web applications that involves albums (for example flickr or facebook), the album title is set before the photos. However, the photos are the main part of a album. So why aren't the photos uploaded first, and than later (next screen, or bottom of the screen) you name your album?

After you explain me why I'm wrong - are there legitimate uses for a scenario where you pick photos first and the name last?

5 Answers 5


Going off of DA01's answer which I agree with, Nielsen's 10 usability heuristics can also be applied to this case.

In terms of matching the Desktop and Email GUI/pattern, this also extends to what desktop's and emails are based off of which are real life desks and letters. We usually title notebooks before using them, and title letters before writing them. Adding a subject to these things gives them focus and allows us to organize more easily.

Match between system and the real world The system should speak the users' language, with words, phrases and concepts familiar to the user, rather than system-oriented terms. Follow real-world conventions, making information appear in a natural and logical order.


It's a common pattern.

Desktop GUI:

  • create folder
  • name it
  • stick things in it


  • create email
  • give it a subject
  • add content

So that's perhaps one reason...it's a typical flow.

But that's not to say you are wrong to consider it. It may very well make sense. Give it a try!

  • People frequently send an e-mail with "No subject". But ok, nobody creates a folder without a name.
    – fotanus
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 19:57
  • 2
    @fotanus untitled folder, untitled folder 2, untitled folder 3 Commented May 9, 2014 at 20:07

If you where going to upload random photos it would make sense to add the name afterwards, based on what photos you have uploaded.

On facebook and flickr you don't upload random photos, you pick the ones from your trip to Paris, from your birthday, etc. You know what the album is going to contain before uploading photos. If you know, it makes sense to name it too.

  • not necessarily true. Random photos uploaded to facebook go into a default folder called "wall photos" Commented May 9, 2014 at 20:27
  • Which is already named by Facebook. It's the place where everything that doesn't have a certain theme goes. It could be called "Random photos" and it wouldn't change it's meaning or purpose. Not the same in an album.
    – Mihai
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 20:36
  • In addition, Facebook isn't a tool for organizing things.
    – DA01
    Commented May 11, 2014 at 16:36

I think it has to do with the human brain.

By setting the name first, we know what we want to group everything by. When selecting from a group of photos, how do you know how you're going to group them by until you tell yourself? First we select "bears" and then we select all of the pictures of bears.

My argument isn't very strong, but I feel much more comfortable knowing what I'm going to be selecting files for, before I do it.

  • I sympathize with the idea, apart of having no proff.
    – fotanus
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 23:07

I think you are talking about the difference between folder and tag, which have different mental models. Here is a blog post about it:

blog post

and below is a summary of the post:

enter image description here

Overall, I think folder systems encourage a narrow and deep hierarchy, while tag systems encourage a wide and shallow hierarchy.

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