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I need to create a interface wherein a user can quickly categorize few of his photos into albums.

Constraints

  1. 1 photo can be a part of multiple albums.
  2. Atmost there are 15-20 photos and 5-6 albums.
  3. Each photo is detailed, so a full view is required before they can be categorized into any album (i.e. thumbnails don't provide enough feedback)

What is the most intuitive interaction that would fit the above case, so that the user doesn't have to keep switching between screens?

Rudimentary solution

Here's a drag n drop solution I thought of :-

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

Problem

The problem with the above workflow is for categorizing any image user has to perform 3 steps:

  1. Click full view to view image in a lightbox.
  2. Close lightbox.
  3. Move one image to album via drag drop (repeat)

This becomes very tedious if there are many images.

  • Why isn't a thumbnail enough? Isn't a thumbnail supposed to provide enough information at a glance that the user doesn't really have to click full view? – Majo0od Feb 6 '16 at 15:34
  • @Majo0od These are images of scratches on furniture pieces. So they may not be visible without zooming in. I'm afraid that's a constraint i can't change. – Shubham Kanodia Feb 6 '16 at 15:53
  • What I'm trying to say is that, then zooming in. Is that a forced behavior (they have to view in full before applying to an album?) or something the user does non the less? If the user has to view a bigger picture, then why are you showing thumbnails to begin with? – Majo0od Feb 6 '16 at 16:06
  • @Majo0od: its not forced, its an expected behaviour. and he need not view thumbnails, its just a solution i thought of, because thumbnails give the user a sense of count. I'm looking for better solutions though ( which may or may not involve thumbnails ). – Shubham Kanodia Feb 6 '16 at 16:43
  • So I guess the question is: what's more important to the user? The sense of count, or the ability to view the images in full? Giving count is an easy solution (just show a number) – Majo0od Feb 6 '16 at 17:13
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Here is one solution, that could be added to the functionality you have outlined.

When the user opens the image in a lightbox, have a series of buttons below the image representing each album. The user can then click the button to add the open image to that specific album, or click again to remove it, like a check box. Double clicking could both add the image to the album, and return the user to the thumbnail view, increasing the efficiency of the workflow.

You could also display a tooltip of what albums an image belongs to when you mouse-over the thumbnail.

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