On the night of 21st May 2013 a new Flickr experience was rolled out to all users – this included a new layout, functionality and pricing plans.
If you are not familiar with Flickr or think it’s just another photo sharing website then let me begin by singing the virtues of the previous incarnation of Flickr.
First and foremost it was a photo sharing website where a user could upload a photo or a whole bunch of photos (on a certain subject), add useful metadata (like title, location, people) edit the photos online and then share these photos with users all around the world and even add to a group of specific subjects.
Your photos could be viewed by professional photographers around the world with everyone showcasing their best efforts, entering into discussion about photos and techniques with users taking away some information and inspiration about the photos.
It truly was the ONLY destination for serious photographers to add, share and browse a website full of decent content and be part of a community that all appreciated each other and their work. So much so that users opted to pay $49 a year for a greater number of uploads per month along with a few other features like statistics but not much else!
The old Flickr site may have been basic and simple, but that was exactly what I liked about it. No extraneous mess. It just did what it needed to – show off your photos and contained all the information and links you needed within swift pull down menus rather than numerous clicks!
The old Flickr was organized and well constructed. It was for people who really cared about photography and were interested in learning or bettering their craft. Now, it just looks like any other lame social media site out there. It’s loud and messy looking.
Personally I can’t remember the last time I actually paid for anything on the internet and would always investigate every free alternative or find a more than less desirable substitute. But with Flickr I found a product that WAS worth my money and I felt the people behind Flickr understood their users, what they wanted and how they used the site. It seemed to be a match made in heaven.
I’ve dabbled with Tumblr and Instagram but these are more social sharing type websites for the odd mobile phone shot with people adding awful effects – these sites arent for serious photographers and aren’t directed at them either.
So Flickr has relaunched and totally revised the layout of the website – this is my biggest gripe – the awful new Instagram/Tumblr style layout. Photos don’t seem able to breath anymore, my eyes aren’t able to peruse a users photostream without having a mass of ‘in yer face’ photos – the whole experience is just wrong and not what we have come to expect from Flickr. I think they have totally got it wrong and don’t understand what us users want or how eyes, vision and browsing work.
My Flickr homepage used to be a great landing page for looking at other people’s uploads, comments ive received, inbox messages, statistics and recent uploads to groups. It truly was a useful page pulling in information I wanted to see in one handy place – whereas everything has now been split up over many pages, many clicks away. My homepage just now shows everyone elses photos in one massive photostream – surely this homepage should now be configurable resulting in a better experience for the user?
What I can’t believe with this whole relaunch is that only day’s earlier Flickr’s owners Yahoo purchased Tumblr (a blogging and photo sharing tool) and have essentially turned the look and feel of Flickr into a Tumblr-like website. Why would an owner want TWO website of a very similar ilk? People do not pay for Tumblr whereas people do for Flickr – surely the differences between these two websites is more important than ever now for them both to survive – hence the differences should be amplified and used as the device to improve them. IE dont turn Flickr into Tumblr!
Yahoo should be moving Flickr into an even more professional territory and move away from this Tumblr-like look and feel. Having owned a tablet for a few years I always felt a decent Flickr app had been missing and the actual style and feel they now have created would suited an Android app perfectly as a viewing platform – but not as a desktop pc based interface!!!
I could go on and list so many things that are wrong with the new Flickr – but I feel most users would have alredy experienced them.
I will leave it there and post my thoughts again after actually using it for a few weeks……..