Posted by:Nithin Rao March 27th, 2014

This blog is continued from part one and two of a series on Building Forms for Mobile Apps :

The more we think of what we can do with mobile forms, the more exciting it gets. The possibilities are endless and thus there is always scope for improvisation and churning out new kinds of form elements. This week we talk about how to effectively use the native device camera for forms and in ways unique to the mobile world.

Picture upload? Do it the mobile way:   

If your form needs the user to upload an image, always give them two options – one to pick from the image gallery (love the way iOS 7 organizes photos) and the other to use the device camera to quickly shoot a picture. And making the user leave the app to do either of these is a sin!

The minute the user clicks a picture or picks one from the gallery, show them a quick preview (if you can give them quick editing /effects provisions, you will earn instant fandom!) and on confirmation, simply upload to the form and have them all set to proceed to the next steps.

Need ideas on how and where this can be used? Here are a few examples:

-        Have a mobile based CMS with login, for your enterprise mobile app. Allow authorized content managers to login, upload content and pictures while on-the-go.  Let’s say you have this app for your restuarant and want to update menu content on a regular basis, with enticing pictures of the goodies coming out freshly baked from the oven! Give your restaurant staff an iPhone app – let them update menu on a regular basis, maybe send notifications to app users about a new dish they tried and how awesome it was! Watch how customers come looking for specific items on your menu!

-        A lot of times, forms need people to upload a face-picture of themselves. Ask the user to do a ‘selfie’ – quick, easy and yeah, they can delete it if they don’t like it – unlike the earlier days when one was at the mercy of the person in the studio. Churn out quick ID cards or event passes, by asking users to sign up with forms that give you all the info you need – photo included!

-        Arm your customer service personnel with iPads to make the ever-so-elusive and i-can’t-fill-out-all- those-10-pages person become your customer.   Demonstrate to people that creating a new account in a bank or becoming a policy-holder isn’t too much of drudgery, given the ultra-cool iPad apps your employees use to capture photos and other information – all in a few minutes. After all, people these days don’t just look for great products, they look for great customer service too.

That was a glimpse of what you can do with the smartphone camera in your mobile app. Use the comments section below to share your ideas  and contribute to building a panoramic view on this topic!

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