Previous news story    Next news story

Flickr poised for much-needed interface improvements

By dpreview staff on Feb 21, 2012 at 01:34 GMT

Venerable photo-sharing site Flickr is reported to be on the verge of its most drastic redesign in many years. The New York Observer's tech blog, BetaBeat interviewed Flickr's 'Head of Product' Markus Spiering, during which he demoed a remarkably Google+-like gallery interface. He also appeared to rubbish the site's clean but rather dated 'small photos, lots of white space and information' appearance. Yahoo says the improved gallery view will apply to the 'From your Contacts' page from the February 28th, with the uploader coming in March.

The redesign is bound to cause anger to long-time users (because redesigns tend to mean changing long-established ways of working), but is probably necessary if Flickr is to increase its appeal in an era when there are so many popular places that let you easily share images.

Comments

Total comments: 82
12
sfa1966
By sfa1966 (Mar 5, 2012)

No change as at 5 March. So, is this story a spoof?

0 upvotes
Azams of Churton
By Azams of Churton (Mar 2, 2012)

Haven't seen anything yet. I am expecting big things!!

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
rtf74
By rtf74 (Mar 2, 2012)

I don't see anything different so far?

0 upvotes
Ortin
By Ortin (Mar 2, 2012)

Threat the whole "Orb" issue as an artistic feature.
The camera will become a cult and in the future others will try to imitate this effect to have an "x10orb feel"
Sort of like heavy vignetting in Instagram and the like.

So grab the piece of photo history while you can ;)

0 upvotes
PaoloBosetti
By PaoloBosetti (Mar 1, 2012)

It's March 1st. It's me or nothing has changed yet?

0 upvotes
rrr_hhh
By rrr_hhh (Feb 27, 2012)

All I can say is that looking at their gallery pictures using the iPad is way more easy than looking at the Dpreview gallery !

1 upvote
john10001
By john10001 (Feb 25, 2012)

I'd like to see them compete with Zenfolio, PBase and Smugmug, with a few different pricing options and product options, and especially to be very competitive on price to keep costs low, increase revenues, attract more customers, and encourage existing users on free accounts to expand for the benefits the paid account would then offer. At the moment I think Flickr falls short of where they should be aiming to be.

0 upvotes
lemming2008
By lemming2008 (Feb 24, 2012)

Looking forward to seeing what they come up with! Basic layout/viewing could certainly use some updates. And it needs more interactive/community feel.

But the part that most needs overhauling is Flickr's organizational tools. Tagging, organizing, geotagging, etc., are a clunky mix of different interfaces.

0 upvotes
larrytusaz
By larrytusaz (Feb 24, 2012)

I like PBase myself. I've had them since 2004 & they haven't changed--and frankly, I LIKE that.

One of the things I like--you can view ALL of the thumbnails at once. ALL of them. Even if that means loading 459 thumbnails images, you can do that. I hate having to do the "hit next, wait--hit next, wait--hit next, wait" nonsense. Let me have the option to load the WHOLE thing at once & then just scroll. PBase gives you this.

1 upvote
exp1orer
By exp1orer (Feb 24, 2012)

exactly. i thought that Flickr has evolved into a modern image-hosting site. but i realised PBase is still much better in many ways with no ads.

1 upvote
jsis
By jsis (Feb 23, 2012)

Hey look, it's another facebook tumblr.

0 upvotes
slncezgsi
By slncezgsi (Feb 23, 2012)

Whether it will be for the good or bad, flickr does need improvements and further development. Be it the stats (which are too primitive right now) or the ability to work on tags or descriptions on several images at once when these are already uploaded.

I would also like to see more graphically pleasing and less distracting design. After all - one of the main points is to be able to view photos in a effective and pleasing way.

1 upvote
leomartinez
By leomartinez (Feb 23, 2012)

Flickr offer the option to have a photo sharing- exposing tool for free. I'm not a professional, so, for now flickr works for me and I appreciate that.

0 upvotes
Chaitanya S
By Chaitanya S (Feb 23, 2012)

Yahoo is very slow, today I logged into my 500px account and I was surprised to see a beautiful interface and upgraded site. I think yahoo's policies of flickr of such slow upgrades are going to kill it.

0 upvotes
klopus
By klopus (Feb 22, 2012)

Always avoided Flickr. Just can't stand its white background with distracting blue and red elements sprinkled around. Most images don't look their best against white and the whole thing has an amateurish feel to it, maybe good for social aspect but definitely not for photo presentation.

Then there's this endless amorphous Photostream which kinda seems to be designed to stress this attention deficit syndrome nature of social media - what was yesterday is totally forgotten and overshadowed by what's today (or 1 hour ago). Maybe it's how it should be in twitter culture.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
THENITEOWL
By THENITEOWL (Feb 22, 2012)

A word of warning!
Picasa did much the same back in Dec. and it was a disaster for a lot of folks. It scrambled their Picasa databases beyond repair and would continue in a loop that kept updating files and changing them. It did it to mine.

0 upvotes
racketman
By racketman (Feb 22, 2012)

most annoying for me is that after deleting a photo in Photostream I am taken to my latest page rather than staying on the page from which I deleted the image.

0 upvotes
Barend
By Barend (Feb 22, 2012)

And for the dutch marked, no one is mentioning pictureplaza.nl

0 upvotes
Ralph Lemarechal
By Ralph Lemarechal (Feb 23, 2012)

That looks like a very outdated an amateurish site ....

0 upvotes
JavaJones
By JavaJones (Feb 22, 2012)

Glad to read that many here have the same issues with Flickr that I've had: too many clicks, poorly implemented category/organization functions on people's gallery home pages, terrible multiple image size and viewing options, and generally poor photo viewing experience.

Frankly I've felt a little crazy at times with so many people seeming to be in love with Flickr, and I just can't stand it. So it's good to see I'm not alone. I for one am very much looking forward to the redesign.

Regarding alternatives, I am rather surprised to see no one mention SmugMug. I will grant that its social features are far behind Flickr, which is unfortunate. But otherwise Smugmug is a helluvalot more customizable and has *much* better presentation of photos. Auto-sizing photos to the user's screen? What a novel concept. Flickr could learn a few things. Let's hope they already have...

0 upvotes
Michael J Davis
By Michael J Davis (Feb 22, 2012)

I suppose the Flickr hang-ons like FlickRiver will still be there for those who dislike the new layout...
M.

0 upvotes
Jim Salvas
By Jim Salvas (Feb 22, 2012)

I hope they keep it simple. Forgetting the KISS rule is the most common mistake websites make when trying to improve.

For me, the one change I'd like to see is to allow me to choose all photos shown on the first page of my photostream. Last first is not often what I want to show.

5 upvotes
Michael J Davis
By Michael J Davis (Feb 22, 2012)

Excellent point! I quite agree!

0 upvotes
JCMello
By JCMello (Feb 24, 2012)

This would be VERY nice, indeed.

Comment edited 11 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
CsabX
By CsabX (Feb 24, 2012)

You CAN actually control what's in your frontpage of your photostream!

Though it's not straightforward, but just try to change the upload date of any of your (older) photo to the current time and voila, it's immediately on your front page!

it's that easy

0 upvotes
FRANCISCO ARAGAO
By FRANCISCO ARAGAO (Feb 22, 2012)

No doubt Flickr is the least bad of these photo-sharing sites.

2 upvotes
Doug Frost
By Doug Frost (Feb 22, 2012)

I prefer pbase myself. It's simpler, less commercial and looks better, imo.

Comment edited 16 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
7enderbender
By 7enderbender (Feb 22, 2012)

It has a few quirks and an interface design overhaul sounds like a good idea. But overall I like it and has been a good site for me so far to a) share images with friends and family and b) search for images and groups to check out samples of cameras, lenses, etc. And often you stumble upon really nice and inspirational work.

For everything else I have zenfolio.

0 upvotes
Telefoto
By Telefoto (Feb 22, 2012)

As a recent arrival in the online photo sharing world, I have been pretty amazed at the deficits on flickr and all the other sites I've looked at, and I'm very disappointed not to see any comments here pointing to the "best" or "clearly better" share site. Guess it's not just my imagination that all are appallingly badly designed?

With flickr, it starts with what is to me the bizarre standard interface that throws all your photos together into one giant bucket. I spend all my time carefully arranging them into sets, but every time I go to the site I see the giant bucket and have to search around for the sets. I can't even begin to guess why the giant bucket would be default rather than itself be the hard to find option?

0 upvotes
FRANCISCO ARAGAO
By FRANCISCO ARAGAO (Feb 22, 2012)

Did you know you can change the layout of your home page?

0 upvotes
Telefoto
By Telefoto (Feb 22, 2012)

I'll have to research that, but to be honest, I find it remarkably painful to research and implement flickr functionality, it's a pretty user hostile site.

0 upvotes
Tim the Grey
By Tim the Grey (Feb 23, 2012)

I'm a complete puter numpty. It took me 5 minutes to set up 'sets', and sort images into 'em. Never used Collections feature, sets work fine.
You CAN change the display order to, I believe, those with most hits, or likes, etc.
Or just use a pre written Big Huge Labs script to create a new Your Favourites set???

0 upvotes
Telefoto
By Telefoto (Feb 25, 2012)

Afraid I don't really see any significant ability to change the layout of the home page. You can move around how many large vs small images you see, but I see no "customize homepage" option at all, neither does google.

0 upvotes
Scubadu
By Scubadu (Feb 22, 2012)

I have avoided flickr like the plague. My reasons are the same as many others have commented. Too much white background space, small thumbnails and the need to click extra times just to see a set... I've been using PBase but I miss the social and search functionalities that flickr has. I look forward to seeing the updated site.

2 upvotes
HansN46
By HansN46 (Feb 22, 2012)

It was about time that Flickr improved their interface. It's a terrible interface and I use flickr only to publish the newest images and I keep the most appreciates ones. The rest I swap for some new ones.

I hope they will also be aware of the costs in comparison to other photosites. There was a moment I had published around 500 images on Windows Live Skydrive without any costs and Flickr linits is to 200?

Besides that Flickr is treating the images very badly. The enlargement of the images in the slideshow mode makes the images unsharp, so that I only use the lightbox to watch my images.
On Skydrive the enlargement doesn't have that effect and images are much sharper displayed, while uploaded at about the same resolution.
Not that Skydrive is the answer on all the fuss, far from it. It lacks in photo and album management as well, but imo the picture quality is OK.

1 upvote
terryoregon
By terryoregon (Feb 22, 2012)

When is dpreview coming out with it's own paid gallery account? It was 'coming soon' at least a year ago.

0 upvotes
EDWARD ARTISTE
By EDWARD ARTISTE (Feb 22, 2012)

I agree with others that said they avoid flickr. The interface really is terrible...and when people link to flickr, 9 times out of 10 i just dont bother clicking. Its actually amazing that they have gone this long with out major upgrades to the ol dinosaur.

They should involve the community more, do some live testing and get feedback from the community so they can turn it into what the people want.

1 upvote
rowlandw
By rowlandw (Feb 22, 2012)

1) Would like to easily adjust the sequence of pix in my photostream.
2) Need replacement for Picnik as an in-flickr image editor.
3) Would like an easy way to see if my pix make it into Explore - currently I only find out from those who comment or I have to go outside flickr (to Scout). Maybe this feature exists but I missed the memo?
4) When I download my pix from flickr the file name is some random alphanumeric instead of the name I gave them - minor annoyance.

2 upvotes
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (Feb 22, 2012)

Well, I use Flikr quite a lot both for my work as for my own private photography. The problem what I feel with Flikr is that they want to be AND and photo sharing site, AND a photography blog, AND a facebook community clone.

Flikr itself is great value for money and it's a treasure by means of collection they have by their users.So I think the service itself (that of storing photo's) is very good. I just wished they gave you room to store in other formats than JPEG as well, I wouldn't mind to pay more if I can store my RAW files as well.

1 upvote
itsastickup
By itsastickup (Feb 22, 2012)

I quite like the flickr interface.

5 upvotes
fatdeeman
By fatdeeman (Feb 22, 2012)

I may be missing something and if so I apologise but PLEEEEASE can I BROWSE search results? You do a search, click on one of the results for a closer look and then you have to click the back button and click on the next result and so on, if I want to look at photos of a specific subject I want to sift through the photos as if I am browsing a photo stream or set, I don't want to have to keep going backwards and forwards for each result!

0 upvotes
fatdeeman
By fatdeeman (Feb 22, 2012)

Also can we select multiple groups at one time to send photos to? I love to share with groups but sometimes you have about 8 different groups that your photo is suitable for and you have to drag and drop the photo over each one and then WAIT for a confirmation, if it just put things in a queue and didn't make you click ok after each submission it would help!

0 upvotes
ChrisSwiss
By ChrisSwiss (Feb 22, 2012)

There is a Greasemonkey script called "Multi Group Sender". I think you need to use Firefox in order to run it. It is done nicely and works very well.

Comment edited 21 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Reg Natarajan
By Reg Natarajan (Feb 22, 2012)

Click "Slideshow" when you have the results up and you can browse back and forth, looking at each photo.

0 upvotes
Tim the Grey
By Tim the Grey (Feb 23, 2012)

OK, I'm lost here. I have added one photo to well over 20 groups, in a single hit? Just pull down a Groups Menu, tick the ones you want, click ADD, and it's done????

0 upvotes
SynchroM
By SynchroM (Feb 22, 2012)

I always steer well clear of flickr, even to go and look at someone else's pictures. It's just so dismal and depressing, apparently designed to distract attention away from the overly small pictures, annoy you with a zillion conflicting options, ads and comments, all in a layout that looks like 'my first wordpress'. Picasa is marginally better, and even the now defunct mobileme makes a better job of the simple task of displaying images. I could never face putting my own pics on flickr as I'd never want to inflict their revolting interface on anyone that wanted to see my pics.
On the upside, pretty much anything would be an improvement so hopefully they can't go far wrong.

0 upvotes
spidermoon
By spidermoon (Feb 22, 2012)

I hope they make groups better. For Paris city, where i live, there is tons of groups of course with same photos in it. If only there is a means to group the groups.

0 upvotes
Dafffid
By Dafffid (Feb 22, 2012)

Not needing 5 clicks to do the simplest thing would be a start. But customisation should be the goal, not imposing another designer led, fixed concept on people, but letting them choose.

0 upvotes
thinkfat
By thinkfat (Feb 22, 2012)

Oh boy. If flickr becomes anything like Google Plus I'll probably have to find a new place for sharing photos... I hope the photostream is not going away.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
TakePictures
By TakePictures (Feb 22, 2012)

Would be nice to have more flexibility in presenting your best shots as a sort of portfolio with either white or black background, e.g., as a slideshow. Zenfolio does this quite well, although I don't like the way they display sets and collections.

1 upvote
snake_b
By snake_b (Feb 22, 2012)

Flickr's interface is garbage, including linking numbers of pictures being a joke.

I'd love to see an improvement, which might even make me finally buy a membership.

3 upvotes
costinul_ala
By costinul_ala (Feb 22, 2012)

I can't agree. There is always room for improvement but the Flickr interface is very functional. Other similar sites make it more difficult to browse by groups, tags etc

5 upvotes
Superka
By Superka (Feb 22, 2012)

Flickr is №1 photo sharing service! I love Flickr with its simple and clear interface. I will be happy if it will be better, but I hope they won''t spoil it!

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
infomatique
By infomatique (Feb 22, 2012)

I totally agree

0 upvotes
brkl
By brkl (Feb 22, 2012)

Flickr has been good to me, but an interface revamp is definitely needed.

1 upvote
Freestyler
By Freestyler (Feb 22, 2012)

BLACK, for god sake let me have a BLACK BACKGROUND $@&@#$!!! How hard is it, seriously.

4 upvotes
Reg Natarajan
By Reg Natarajan (Feb 22, 2012)

I agree totally. A bit more customization of our Photostreams would be simple to do and extremely welcome.

3 upvotes
Reg Natarajan
By Reg Natarajan (Feb 22, 2012)

I love Flickr the way it is. I hope they improve it without messing it up. I don't want another Facebook. A few new features would be nice, though, and with Picnik closing in April, they'll need something to replace that.

1 upvote
elmo
By elmo (Feb 22, 2012)

I wonder if they could replace Picnik with Pixlr. I've found that to be a good online editor. I have the Pixlr Grabber extension in Firefox. If, while reading forums, I see a photo that seems to need certain tweaks, I can take it straight to Pixlr for a quick edit, to confirm my impressions.

0 upvotes
xlynx9
By xlynx9 (Feb 22, 2012)

if flickr wants to increase its user base it needs to build community. Some community features are laughable. Most critically, there's no way to be notified of replies to group discussion posts.

0 upvotes
sadwitch
By sadwitch (Feb 22, 2012)

Hope its good as i stayed away from flickr cos the user interface just didn't work for me. Too many clicks and too many sizes.

1 upvote
WT21
By WT21 (Feb 22, 2012)

I've never liked the Flickr interface. Looking forward to something new!

3 upvotes
hindesite
By hindesite (Feb 22, 2012)

I hope that they don't make any changes that break 3rd party uses of Flickr - I use it mainly because it (had) good 3rd party tools for uploading and also for viewing content - like Flickriver, and OnBlack, for example. Consequently the interface was not very important to me.

RSS feeds out to blogs were also extremely useful to me. I hope they don't break those. It also worked with Yahoo! Pipes (though that might not be around for long).

0 upvotes
Holgs
By Holgs (Feb 22, 2012)

Yep especially hope they don't change the RSS...

0 upvotes
noneyabidnis
By noneyabidnis (Feb 22, 2012)

You should email their customer service and let them know you are concerned about their new upgrade, more specifically, the impact it may have on RSS.

0 upvotes
Reg Natarajan
By Reg Natarajan (Feb 23, 2012)

This is a great point. I don't think they'll mess with RSS but if they do, they'll lose me. Publishing my Flickr photos on my home page is one of the best things about Flickr.

0 upvotes
Acrill
By Acrill (Feb 22, 2012)

I really quite like the Flickr interface. It offers a lot more control than Google Plus.

0 upvotes
fyngyrz
By fyngyrz (Feb 22, 2012)

"He also appeared to rubbish the site's clean but rather dated..."

To... "rubbish" it? To put garbage upon it? Eh? Is this some turn of phrase with which I am unfamiliar?

0 upvotes
eyrieowl
By eyrieowl (Feb 22, 2012)

Apparently it is. Means "to speak disparagingly of".

0 upvotes
36hike
By 36hike (Feb 22, 2012)

There's no reason you should be familiar with it, fyngyrs. It's Brit slang. (A new word every minute.) It's rubbish. We're really cooked when Thai slang starts being used.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (Feb 22, 2012)

It's not slang, it's an accepted usage in UK English.

The problem is that it's hard to second-guess which words and phrases aren't used in the US.

0 upvotes
The A-Team
By The A-Team (Feb 23, 2012)

Ha, yeah, first time I've heard it like that. Thanks 36/Richard for clearing it up.

0 upvotes
fyngyrz
By fyngyrz (Feb 22, 2012)

Mmmm.... a little worried about this. I like flickr as-is, at least as far as how the pages are displayed. Been a paying member for years. I have a 500px account too, but it doesn't even remotely compare to flickr.

Not that I wouldn't like to see some changes:

Galleries, sets and collections need some work, the site desperately needs a blog facility, and as another poster here remarked, it'd be nice to be able to control which images appear on your account's photos page. The Favorites capability *really* needs some work (hasn't it occurred to *someone* over there that we might collect favorites along more than one line of interest, and jamming them all together is... well, lame?)

1 upvote
boulderdashcci
By boulderdashcci (Feb 22, 2012)

I've mostly lost interest in Flickr, and have been slowly making the move to 500px. I was just about to buy their Pro account, but maybe now I'll wait and see what this turns out to be.

0 upvotes
nick18k
By nick18k (Feb 22, 2012)

A way to explore groups from the main page.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 82
12