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Upload user avatar with a custom upload button

bugs_bunny profile image Derek Oware Originally published at ・2 min read

I recently wrote on how to customize the default upload button but I want to explore more into this topic and try other options.

I designed an interface to upload a user avatar

Final look

How to

We'll start with our HTML

  <div id="user-avatar" aria-label="user avatar"></div>
  <input type="file" name="upload" id="upload" accept="image/*" />
  <label for="upload">
    <span role="button" tabindex="0" aria-label="upload user profile">


We can't use interactive elements like <button> or <a> elements in an element. Learn more from the docs. For this reason, we need to use either a <span> or a <div>.

The Attributes

  • role="button" to specify the role of our element for assistive technologies
  • tabindex="0" to make our element focusable
  • aria-label is necessary because we have no meaningful text content in our element. This is also important for assistive technologies.


We give some style for our user avatar.

section {
  position: relative;
  height: 250px;
  width: 250px;

#user-avatar {
  height: inherit;
  width: inherit;
  border: 3px solid lightblue;
  border-radius: 50%;
  transition: ease-out 200ms;

We then hide our input

input {
  display: none;

Leaving us with our <label> and our fake button.

We then style our button

label span[role="button"] {
  position: absolute;
  bottom: 0;
  right: 0;
  height: 60px;
  width: 60px;
  background-color: lightblue;
  display: grid;
  place-items: center;
  border-radius: 50%;
  box-shadow: 0px 3px 5px -1px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2), 0px 6px 10px 0px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.14),
    0px 1px 18px 0px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.12);
  transition: ease-out 200ms;
  cursor: pointer;

label span:hover,
label span:focus {
  box-shadow: 0px 5px 5px -3px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.2), 0px 8px 10px 1px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.14),
    0px 3px 14px 2px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.12);
  background-color: #1e94bb;

We've reached our design goal 🙌, but we aren't done yet.

Some JavaScript

const AVATAR = document.querySelector("#user-avatar");
const INPUT = document.querySelector("#upload");
const BTN = document.querySelector('span[role="button"]');

A function to handle our upload

const handleUpload = event => {
  const file =[0];
  const reader = new FileReader();

  reader.onloadend = () => {
    const imageBuffer = reader.result; = `url(${imageBuffer}) center center/cover`;

And then we call our event

INPUT.addEventListener("change", handleUpload);

We're done, except for one issue.
Our button is focusable and clickable but what about the key events? 😬

A normal button should respond to key events but our button is not responding.

The best solution I could come up with was

BTN.addEventListener("keypress", event => {
  if (event.key === " " || event.key === "Enter") {;

"I know this may not be the best solution for this issue so I'd like to see other suggestions."


WE ARE DONE!!! 🥳🥳🥳


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