Monday, July 25, 2011

Web usability and HTML: Uploading files and photos

More and more people use online document and photo sharing websites (dropbox, picasa, facebook etc). However, I am still amazed at the number of websites that require files to be uploaded and that do not offer a way to link to an online resource.

A classic example is adding a photo to an online profile or attaching a document to an application form. It would be really helpful to be able to either upload a file, or simply enter a URL to an online file. This is something applications developers could easily implement.

However, the ideal solution would be to change the HTML5 upload file selector to allow the selection of either a disk-based resource/file or a publically available web-based resource (via a url). This change would immediately make ALL web applications that perform file uploading more flexible with zero effort required from developers.

An obvious progression from this would be to allow browsers to access secured resources (private picasa galleries or files on ftp sites etc) - of course, only with the owners permission and with appropriate authentication.

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