3

Client has a desktop-only website that is migrating to be responsive. Contact us form has a button to attach a file (not necessary a picture).

My thought is: attaching a file with a phone is arduous. I don't see any other solution than linking to a cloud where files are stored, and even so, I don't think it would be used that much.

What do mobile users expect to happen with such 'attach' buttons, and what should we do to handle this?

3
  • 2
    This is also tricky because the user's phone might not necessarily have file management that allows them to choose attachments. – John S. Oct 22 '14 at 14:44
  • Actually, the limited and restricted file system access common mobile OSs expose to the user can make it simpler for them to select a file – if it’s available on the device or on transparently integrated cloud storage. – Crissov Oct 22 '14 at 15:03
  • @JonW : I think it's a mix of what users expect and what we should do to handle this. JohnS and Crissov: Yes you are right. That's why I am puzzled! – Catherine Oct 22 '14 at 15:17
2

If there's a particular reason the users of the site would want to send images (e.g. screenshots for bug reports or support), then I would re-label the file-upload widget as something like "upload image" for the mobile version of your form while leaving the desktop version unchanged.

On iOS, a standard HTML file-upload widget triggers an action sheet that lets you take or choose a photo, so with the re-labeling you'd be all set.

iOS file upload screenshot

On Android, it seems that hitting a HTML file-upload widget gives you a choice to upload photo, video, or from "Documents," and choosing "Documents" exposes files from your cloud drive and downloads in addition to images and such, but nevertheless, a user wanting to upload from those places through their Android device seems like a pretty limited use case.

Android file upload screenshot

In general, I'd say that uploading an arbitrary file through a mobile device is a pretty esoteric task for most users. Heck, it is for me, and I'm supposed to be a UX guy.

So in sum I'd say that re-labeling the widget to "upload picture" could work, as taking & sharing pics and traversing the camera roll are well-worn tasks for most mobile users. But if there is not a particular reason that it's important for your users to upload images, I would consider omitting the document upload widget from the mobile version of your form entirely.

2
  • Also, I'm not an experienced Android user, so please excuse any gross inaccuracies in that department! – Mark Nugent Oct 23 '14 at 15:34
  • You are right Mark! For us too it looks extremely esoteric, but we came up with a solution along those lines, that basically we would search a cloud or a dropbox. We are still waiting for data on this: how many people really attach files..... – Catherine Nov 4 '14 at 14:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.