I am working on a web application that allows curators or users to publish/edit articles, papers etc. They can use external services (like ArXiv etc.) to import data directly to the forms and they can edit afterwards.


If there is an Identifier of the sources, they import from it otherwise they skip it and continue with the rest of the form.

Use cases

  1. Import from sources and do the mapping.

  2. Add manually content without importing.

The import part has to be clearly separated from the rest of the form to make it obvious for a user that they can just import the data (and not start filling in the form).

The current state of the design:

Accordion form whose first accordion panel provides a place for users to input import sources. The other accordion panels populate with the data from those imports sources or can be manually filled-in.


  • When is it appropriate to ask users if they want to import or add manually? Is it nice to display a modal window with 2 options: "Import data" and "Continue without Importing"?

  • Are they really two separate concepts? The import and the manual edit? What if they choose an option corresponding to their needs and then want to choose the alternative?

  • How publishing stands to importing from external sources? Do they republish something that is already published? Jun 26, 2014 at 23:58
  • Basically there are two options. Either fill the forms manually, either just import from a source by providing an identifier and everything is filled by the data. The curator/user can edit them later.
    – giokokos
    Jun 27, 2014 at 12:36

1 Answer 1


I'm not going to go deep into details, mate.

Current screenshot does look a bit overwhelming. Yes, I would add an initial step with options like "Import" or "Manual".

1) "Import" option would link to the Import Form that would also include a subtle link "Go to manual form" 2) Upon filling in the Import Form and clicking "Continue" I'd send user to the whole form with the fields filled in from the source (as far as I understand Import does exactly this). Whole Form should not include Import Form but a link "Back to Data Import" that would take user back to Import Form so user can do things again.

Wether to do anything in modals or entire web pages — not ready to say. Both should do.

PS: Mind users moving back and forth between the forms in the above written design. Never lose their data by default. If user clicks "Back to Data Import" then you have to manage the data that is already in the fields.

  • And yes — importing data that fills in the Whole Form and filling in the Whole Form manually are bit different concepts. Import is not obligatory, but when used it effects Whole Form much.
    – Rinat
    Jul 2, 2014 at 6:53
  • Thank you for the answer but a visual concept of it would be more than appreciated.
    – giokokos
    Jul 4, 2014 at 12:03

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