Flickr Changes Most Popular Page on the Site, Users Go Bonkers

Flickr: The Help Forum: [Official Topic] Feedback on your new Home Page

Here’s a Flickr help forum thread 17 pages long as of this early a.m. mostly of people objecting to and complaining about changes that Flickr made yesterday to two of their most popular pages on the site.

Flickr’s Recent Activity is where you go to find out what kind of activity is happening on your photos. It’s probably the most viewed page by users in all of Flickr. It shows when people comment on or fave your photos.

Yesterday Flickr redesigned this page and added to it follow up comments to comments that you make on other people’s photos as well, notifications when you are added by someone as a contact and links to your Flickr stats pages.

This comment by Vincent’s Images is typical of many of the hundreds of comments left by users objecting:

“This just plain sucks!

The one piece of info that I really need is impossible to get – namely: new comments on my latest and not so late pictures.

Why take something that worked fine and mess with it ???

You’ve added a fifth wheel and taken away the steering wheel!

GO BACK do NOT collect $200 or my next $24 for that matter!”

Your new Flickr home page has also been redesigned including some of the same information. It’s the Recent Activity page though that people are more up in arms about.

Probably the single best thing that Flickr did with this redesign was introduce a FriendFeed like “hide” feature that you can begin selectively employing for some content. They call it “muting” though. You say tomato, I say tomato.

Muting is especially helpful when looking at comments you’ve made on others’ photos. Sometimes you might leave a generic comment on a photo like “cool shot.” You may not want to see the next 100 people that add their own “cool shot,” comments on that photo. Other times you might write a more substantial and even engaging comment. You might ask a question about a photo or engage the photographer in a dialog etc. Now you can selectively “hide” activity on photos that you don’t care to continue to track while more actively monitoring the photo conversations that you care about.

There is also now a link to the stats page as well as a stats section on the page for every photo. I’d guess that as cool as they are that the “stats” section on Flickr (read trackbacks) wasn’t really being used as much as Flickr hoped. By more prominently featuring stats on their most popular page this should increase both use and awareness of Flickr stats.

So despite all of the anti-change rhetoric from most people, what do I think of the new design? I like it. So far. It is a bit more confusing but I like that there are easy activity settings where you can customize the experience and I especially like the “hide” functionality that allows me to stop monitoring a photo that I might have made a comment on two years ago. I think it’s an improvement over the previous version of this page and a step forward which is always good to see.

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  1. publicenergy says:

    It’s nice to read something sensible about this change. I find it easier to use – before I had two lists of events that I needed to check separately and now there is just one – but with extra controls about what I see in it. I also get to see more photos on the home page too. So it’s all good really.

    It’s a shame people kick off like this every time a change is made, but I wonder how representative the people making the noise in the Flickr help forums really are of the Flickr user base as a whole – they’re probably just a noisy minority.

    I’m glad Flickr isn’t afraid of change even if some of their users are.

  2. Dave says:

    I gotta say, I like the new design too.

  3. Brent Evans says:

    The new flickr home page has been out in beta for over a month and there has been a lot of positive and some negative feedback on it. Overall I like it – a step in the right direction in my opinion. Some will complain, but it looks pretty good to me.

    Flickr is still the best photo sharing site in my opinion.

  4. Ruud Welten says:

    I like some of the new design, like the mute function and easier access to my stats. What I don’t like is the confusing home page and that I lost my seperate page for “Comments you’ve made”.

  5. Lou says:

    You know, I feel the same way. I was invited to a group trying to petition to get the old homepage back, and I declined it. I rather like the new homepage, and it was in dire need of a refresh.

    Now, content is easily visible, much more dynamic and interactive, and makes better use of screen real estate. I’m quite pleased, and all the people flipping out about it are just inable to accept change and learn something new.

    Get out of your rusty creaky habits, and learn to explore something new for once. Change happens, get used to it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The new pages are a UI designers nightmare.
    I cannot understand why they didn’t do am “opt out” feature and then drop the old one later. That is the normal practice.
    I for one am very disappointed at Flickr’s disregard for real people.
    The changes appeal to my teenager, but not to me as an adult business man.

  7. Thiago Silva says:

    I like it too, I’ve NEVER used the old “comments you made” page because it was actually impossible to find stuff. Now, I’m sure if I keep on muting the “coll shot” ones, soon enough I’ll be able to track only the ones I care.

    Plus, Flickr needs a whole redesign, for all pages. If we kill the idea in the nest now, it will just send the message “leave everything as is”.

    By the way, I’ve noticed a “Check interestingness rating” link on my photo properties. I clicked on it and it got stuck on “Searching flickr”, but hey, maybe FINALLY we’ll be able to get this info without having to go to Flickr Scout.

  8. Not being a developer, I’m not sure if this would work…

    Could someone develop a service that taps into the API and basically serves up the old information, in a way that is similar to the old Activity page?

    That idea is free…

  9. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s a mistake of the flickr team to replace the old homepage without leaving users the option to choose which one they want. adding features is good, taking away not.

    they were right to offer multiple options of how a photostream should look. leaving the old homepage as an option would not have hurt anyone.

    there seems to be a bit of a nanny culture going on.

  10. David says:

    I really like flickrs new page. One thing that makes me wonder is, why didnt they make this change a little sooner?
    Its easily customized. You can get almost what you got before, though looking a little different, but at the same time gives you a new experience.

    One thing I would like to see in the future, is being able to show my favourites on my photopage. Its not just my photos I want to show, but also my taste when it comes to others photograhy skills.

  11. jeffd says:

    Sound like Facebook’s recent changes. It’s silly how some people react negatively to ANY change, no matter how beneficial it might be.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I am able to use the new homepage, but it makes everything more difficult than before, and it also wastes a lot of homepage space (flickr blog, blank space) while it clutters a small portion of the screen. I think the old home page was in for a big makeover, but god… this doesn’t make any sense Anyway, life goes on and shit happens, it’s just a fact of life. It’s still good old flickr in everything else, after all.

    Anyway it’s funny that the users making the harshest comments and showing more stubborness are not those asking for the old homepage, but the ones who can’t accept that other people don’t like the new homepage. I think they should understand that now things are more complicated, and it’s only natural that some people prefer the old style. I can’t see why they make such a fuss about them if they are already happy with the new homepage.

  13. Mike Wood says:

    Its not bad and I have been using it in beta since about August. No where near as drastic as the Facebook redesign…

    I like the muting aspect. What I don’t like is that it doesn’t show all the comments in a given time frame only the last handful. And it doesn’t always display HTML content in comments. So it appears to be large chunks of blank now and then.

    And the time frames for recent activity were limit to not 1, 2, 4, 8, 12 hours etc., but 1 hour, 8 hours and a day and larger increments. For people who get lots of comments that’s a pain if you don’t want to sift through and scroll through the last 8 hours but maybe the last 2hours at most.

    There is also no way to see from the recent activity page if someone has left a testimonial for you. That is no longer visible from there. I have left comments and suggestions in that massive Help Forum post but well, I don’t think they are going to change anything. 🙂

  14. Chessa! says:

    I don’t mind the new page so much either…so far. You can customize it to your liking with “mute” and other ways. People complain on Flickr all the time.