Flickr Officially Out of Beta, Goes Gamma? Thoughts on Today’s Overhaul of Flickr

New Primary Flickr Navigation Menu

Last week I wrote about some major redesign efforts that were scheduled to go on over at Flickr this week per the Flickr Blog and about an hour ago they hit.

Following are my observations on the new site redesign based on a quick and initial review. I’ll try to update my thoughts on the redesign in more depth later.

1. Flickr is out of Beta. Gone is the familar beta bug next to the flickr name and in it’s place is a Gamma bug. Somebody has a sense of humor.

2. Instead of the familiar menu at the top of a page of Photos: “Yours,” “Upload,” “Organize,” “Your Contacts,” and “Explore” you now get nice little ajaxy pull down menus that include “You” “Organize” “Contacts” “Groups” and “Explore”

3. The “Organize” section seems to have been, enhance, simplified and works smoother.

New Flickr Organizer, #2
New Flickr Organizer

4. Overall the design and user interface feels more elegant. It is hard to describe why this is the case, it is just a feel.

5. Search has been improved. Included are now ways to filter search by Creative Commons license (helpful for both commercial and non commercial concerns looking to find images to use). Also, the default search results are now fetched back by “most relevant” (a new category) rather than by “most recent.” “Most recent” photos for a search were frequently less interesting photos. You still have an option to change your search to “most recent,” but “most relevant” is a much better way to showcase the best photos that flickr has to offer. I’m still not sure how “most relevant” differs from “most interesting” but will look into this. While the “most relevant” pictures are indeed an improvement over “most recent,” they are still not quite as good as “most interesting” in my opinion. But it’s a step in the right direction.

There are also new and additional ways to filter search for groups. You can sort your group search results by “most recent activity” “group size” and “date created.”

New Image Search, Ranked by Relevancy
Image Search is Now Ranked by Relevancy

6. There are now 18 photos by default on your main Flickr page instead of 10. Your sets are now featured on the right side of the page instead of the left.

7. A “Groups we’ve noticed” section is now prominently displayed on the groups page. Similar to the Explore section of Flickr this give Flickr more significance in having staff select interesting content to highlight.

8. There is a cool new “Person” menu that includes an icon and then a series of things you can do to relate to someone and their photos on flickr.

9. Mail would appear to be largely unchanged as would the home page.

10. Sets display would all appear to fit on one page now. It looks much better than before and doesn’t require the user to page forward to see additional sets. I’m still not sure of the maximum sets allowed on a users sets page.

11. Borders are now gone on all photos. This looks much cleaner and nicer in my opinion and is more consistent with my view of flickr as an online art gallery or museum.

12. Performance? Although I’ve noticed an uptick in speed on flickr over the past few weeks or so, today it seems especially sluggish. This is most likely though due to the massive traffic hitting the site right now as people are checking out the new features. Hopefully the speed improvements will be more permanent after the initial buzz of these changes subsides.

Much Easier to Add People from Group Conversations, Nice Light Box Touch

13. The Explore section seems largely unchanged.

14. “Comments You’ve Made” has been moved to a more prominent placement under the new central “You” menu instead of the Home page. This will be helpful for users to better track the conversations that they’ve had on other’s photos.

Here is the official Flickrblog post on the changes implemented today.

Two popular feature requests frequently requested, sets of sets, and referring trackback information do not appear to have made this round of Flickr feature enhancements.

I’ve got a set of some of the visual changes made with this flickr gamma overhaul on flickr here.

And of course it wouldn’t be an article about Flickr without mentioning that they are almost certainly the best online photo management and sharing application in the world.


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