Can a mandatory photo block a form if the camera malfunctions?

1. What is the problem? Be very detailed.
I have a form with a few optional "Groups", several of them contain a photo field.
I would like to make some photo fields mandatory, but am unsure whether doing so could block the form if the device camera malfunctions.
The data collection happens in sandy, hot, and remote places, so in rare cases devices overheat and get slow or shut down.

I'd like to hear from ODK Collect users whether they ever have encountered a problem with mandatory photos. It would be OK to pick a photo from the device gallery if the camera absolutely malfunctions and refuses to work with the ODK photo widget.

Is there any risk to making photos mandatory?

2. What app or server are you using and on what device and operating system? Include version numbers.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A 2019 8" tablets, Lenovo Tab3 7" tablets (2016-2018 models)
ODK Collect 1.28 beta (latest version)

3. What you have you tried to fix the problem?
I have never encountered a photo field I couldn't fill in.

4. What steps can we take to reproduce the problem?
I'm not sure how to test a malfunctioning camera app.

5. Anything else we should know or have? If you have a test form or screenshots or logs, attach below.
The issue is generic enough to spare you of the details of the form, but of course it's about turtles.

1 Like

Hello @Florian_May,

Well by making the the photo field mandatory it will require the user to either take a photo or to select one from the gallery to continue filling the form, even though if the camera malfunctions, but it can still take pictures even if its just a black photo or something you will continue to fill the form. The real problem would be if you can't access de camera.
If you know this is a common problem I would suggest a workaround, ask the user if their camera is fine, if they answer yes then display the question that needs the photo, if not it won't display, that way the form won't break , you will be using relevance for this.

I would recommend that if you had any problems with the cameras on the past, that you make this optional, so that way the user will not be forced to take or upload a photo,

One thing that we have to understand is that we are using Phones as a tool for work, so our tools should be checked and fine before going to the field,

If you feel that you will have any problems with your tools (Phones), consider all the problems that it could bring.

Feel free to contact me for any issue you have.

1 Like

I'd probably say yes there is always a finite level of 'risk'... Minimally, taking photos requires some amount available free storage on the device [and certain photo appearances - namely new - dont permit you to choose an existing image...].

I tend to treat any mandatory questions with some care; they're not so much a desirable/preference as "will I reject any submission without it?"

[since its somewhat related, I'll toss in that mandatory barcodes are particularly risky, and ideally you should have an optional string question to enter that raw data manually in the event a barcode is unreadable. Think getting stuck in the checkout line at grocery... :slight_smile: ]