Flickr Freshening Up the Look for 2012
Adrianne Jeffries over at Betabeat has a nice scoop on the fresh new page design that Flickr is apparently rolling out next Tuesday for their photos from your contacts page. In her post titled “Flickr is Getting a Major Makeover” she reports on her meeting with Flickr Head of Product Markus Spiering and includes at least one screen shot of what the new page is going to look like.
I haven’t played around with the new page yet, but I’m liking what I see so far from the screenshot. The photos from your contacts’ page is of one of the most popular and visited pages on Flickr.
The old layout for this page was sort of a clunky screen that hadn’t changed much for many years at flickr. It was criticized last year by Flickr Designer Timoni West when she still worked at Flickr in a post titled “The Most Important Page on Flickr.”
The new design looks much more interactive with a focus on larger photos, hover over pop out magnification, and a jigsaw sort of layout that allows the photos on the page to take the maximum space possible with very little white space. It looks quite a bit more like what Google+’s photo pages look like actually and feels like a much more elegant design. Now how cool would it be if this new page also had infinite scrolling as well.
According to Jefferies, the new page is scheduled to roll out next Tuesday, February 28th along with a revamp of Flickr’s upload page as well.
I have to say that I like seeing this sort of fresh new look come out of Flickr — and I think it’s a good sign that Chief Markus Spiering is looking to make good on his promise last month of a renewed focus on Flickr this year.
I don’t know anything about how the functionality of the page might change yet, but hopefully we see some improvement there as well — either with this roll out or subsequent roll outs. At present the current page offers you four ways to view your contacts’ photos.
1. The last 1 photo by all of your “friends.”
2. The last 1 photo by all of your “contacts” (contacts include “friends” and “contacts”).
3. The last 5 photos by all of your “friends.”
4. The last 5 photos by all of your “contacts.”
Personally I’d like to see more ways that flickr users can group their contacts. Having only two buckets contacts vs. friends/family is not enough. Flickr needs circles like Google+ has where we can filter this page view by more than just these two buckets.
I’d also like to see new ways to sort photos on this page beyond just recency. It would be super cool if flickr let us sort this page also by interestingness within time periods (last hour, 12 hours, day, week month). I suspect this sort of functionality enhancement would involve a bit more coding than flickr may have done for next week’s refresh, but the important thing is that Flickr is improving this page and that’s a huge step in the right direction and a positive sign coming from Flickr. G+’s equivalent photo page could use some of this sort of functionality as well.
Also in her article, Jefferies comments about the recent round of layoffs that took place in the customer service area at Flickr. Former Flickr engineer Nolan Caudill wrote a pretty scathing blog post about the layoffs and cited it as evidence that the suits at Yahoo were out of touch with Flickr. Former Yahoo Andy Baio circulated a rumor on twitter that Flickr management was actually blindsided by the layoffs. In Jeffries’ article though she quotes Spiering that the layoffs were done to centralize Flickr’s support with other Yahoo customer support, making it available 24 hours a day.
Initially I wondered about those layoffs myself and blogged on them here — but the more I think about them I’m now starting to wonder if those layoffs actually aren’t a positive step forward by Flickr. I’m not going to name names and I mean no disrespect to anyone who lost their job, but at least one of the individuals who reportedly lost their job in the layoffs really was seen as one of the most hated customer service reps on the site and had taken a lot of criticism over the years for what many users felt were bad account and content deletion decisions. Perhaps clearing out some of the dead wood so to speak is actually a step forward and not backwards.
Anyways, a very solid article on change at Flickr by Jeffries, who is covering flickr better than just about anyone out there these days — and exciting that we’ll likely be able to play with a cooler new version of Flickr next Tuesday. Revamping the contacts photo page and making it easier/faster/bigger/better to see your contacts’ photos should create more interactivity on Flickr which is a super positive thing.
Update: Apparently Flickr has been testing this new layout for almost 6 weeks now. Here’s a link to the group of people who have been testing the new layout if you want to try to get into it deeper. Comments in this group would seem to confirm that continuous scrolling is also coming to flickr.