in case studies

flickr goes gamma

So by now you’ve probably seen the new Flickr interface.

Personally… i like that all the functionality is more accessible from every page, but the main photo page seems a little sterile now. Perhaps I liked the clutter? I *do* like having the two columns of photos on all the pages now though. I quite like the ajaxy dropdowns… but they’re kind of ugly, don’t you think?

Flickr Dropdowns

There are a few oddly placed elements, in my opinion. The number of photos and views just seem to be floating up the top of the RHS column, and then from time to time this spot is used for subnavigation/tools (e.g. profile page). It’s fine once you ‘learn’ it… but a little unexpected.

It took me a while to work out how to add a photo to a group. It seems to have disappeared from the Organizer, and has moved to the toolbar under the image name on the image detail page. I quite liked being able to add to groups from the Organizer… that made sense to me, and made it easier for me to select the photos I *really* wanted to add to groups.

But then, I was never really a Group poweruser. Maybe it’s better this way, if you’re *really* into groups.

There’s a good overview of the changes that have been made here.

How do you like the changes Flickr has made?

image via FlickrNation

  1. The dropdowns make it look like a desktop app, complete with click to activate. Yuck. What’s next – hiding unused menu items a la Microsoft?

    The gamma thing seems kind of silly too, although Flickr is the one site that can pull it off without looking like they are trying too hard to be hip.

  2. you guys! now I feel mean…

    I guess the desktop application look is what they’re going for… on the upside, it is nice and clean, but having used Flickr a bit in the last few days… I’m still getting lost trying to find things. It feels a little *too* clean – like a hospital.

    I *do* like the new placement of the search field (in a completely predictable place, finally), and I notice that they’ve also laid some pages out so you have three columns of photos… I’m undecided on this at the moment. It’s v. economical, but get too many photos on the page and they all start blurring together – fighting for attention and consequently getting less.

    eh. It’s easy to critique from a distance though. I’d be pretty nervous to take on the job!

  3. In the interest of full disclosure, I’m an active Flickr user and have just re-upped for my second year of a pro account—but it’s for the photography and community, in spite of the interface, not because of it.

    While this is a step in the right direction for them, it’s an absolutely classic move by a company and user base who are more interested in using over-hyped technology for its own sake rather than to actually solve problems and create a good user experience. This is the same kind of indulgent, masturbatory non-logic that results in open source desktops that have variable-transparency windows working before a viable application launcher. All bling, no usability.

    The Groups interface has been a complete nightmare since the beginning, and hasn’t been touched in this update. On 16 July, 2005, I left the following post in the official FlickrIdeas Forum:

    I’ve found that it takes about 5 minutes to tag and send an image to the appropriate set(s) and group(s). The new Send To Group drop-down has definitely helped, but I think the process could be streamlined further, to the benefit of both Flickr and its users:

    Create a photo profile editor that allows users to create profiles or preference sets for different types of photos. Each profile can assigned a name by the user and has a list of associated tags, sets, and groups that are automatically applied during upload processing.

    For example, a profile called “Holga” might have the following associated with it:

    tag string: holga toy film “medium format” square 6×6 120

    set list: Holga Images, Film

    group list: holgography, I Shoot Film, Toy Camera, toycamera.com, Use The Force, Square, SquareFormat, Medium Format

    One or more profiles could be applied (and merged to eliminate redundancies) to a given image in the upload screen.

    While it does require a bit of extra database storage, the overhead is fairly low, and may even yield a net resource savings in terms of saved HTTP transactions for repeated if-modified-since loading of group and set thumbnails and individual, one-at-a-time photo additions. It has the potential to save users heaps of time and possibly increase uploading activity given that it’s one of the core functional areas that drive the site.

    It would also be great if the upload processor applied files in reverse order so that the top item in the file upload list ended up as the most recent photo, which would maintain visual consistency between the uploading and viewing areas.

    I checked to see if that has been brought up previously and didn’t find anything, but if it has, please accept my apologies.

    Thanks for your time and keep up the great work!

    None of the Flickr staff even bothered to reply (except to lock the thread). To me, this is an incredibly serious problem. I edit my photos pretty hard and have only uploaded 359 photos in a little over a year. Most people post far more. At 5 minutes per photo, that’s 29.9 hours I’ve spent putting my meager stream into groups. Even if you say for the sake of argument that only 25% of posted photos end up in groups, the aggregate amount of user time wasted by this poor design certainly goes into centuries, if not millennia.

    And while I’m sure it’s there somewhere, I can’t find how to send someone a message in the new layout.

  4. It turns out that you can send messages using Flickr Mail. Right there in the user drop-down. You know, the one that gives you no indication of its existence until you mouseover it. Brilliant.

    This is utter sh*t.

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