Thoughts from a long-time Flickr user:
I [Sean] have been a Flickr user since December 2007. For most of that time I have had a Pro membership. I believed the Pro membership was a valuable tool for backing up my best images. If I wanted to keep an image safe, as well as show it off to the world, I uploaded it to Flickr. It's been great for that purpose.
I was on Flickr a couple of times yesterday. I uploaded several images from recent photography sessions in the morning. At that time, Flickr was normal. When I went back to the site to check for recent activity later that day, the "new and improved" Flickr hit me over the head like an iron skillet. The changes were anything but subtle.
Instead of the clean-looking interface of the past, my Flickr photostream page had a larger profile picture, a banner, and a new photostream layout. At first glance, it's actually kind of eye-pleasing. But now a lot of the information I wanted to be presented to people visiting my page has been buried.
Things I'm not fond of:
- Titles and captions of your images do not show up on your photostream; the title only presents itself if you hover over an image in the new layout. One you click on an image, the title is placed at the far left underneath the image, and only a line or two of the captions visible. I spent a significant amount of time on the captions of many of my images - I want the caption (and title) to have a more prominent position on the image page.
- Sets are no longer visible on your photostream page unless the viewer clicks "Sets." In order for a viewer to see a subset of my photostream (Portraits, Bridal, Senior, etc.), they have to know to click on "Sets." Before, the sets were displayed on the right-hand side allowing the categories to be much more obvious to the user.
- You have to change your profile picture because the previous version was saved at a lower resolution. As the image I used for my profile picture is still in my photostream, why didn't Flickr simply use the same area of the image I had already chosen to automate the process of updating the profile picture? Instead, I had to wade through my images and create the profile picture all over again.
- The process for creating a banner is less than ideal.
- First, you either have to use an existing image from your photostream or you have to upload an image to your stream if you want to use it for the banner (or be stuck with whatever default banner Flickr gives you). But what if I don't want my custom-made banner to be on my photostream? To do that, I'd have to upload an image and change its property to "Private." At that point, I can still make it my banner, but it won't show up to other people viewing my profile. That said, the image is still viewable to me and it clutters up my own personal view of the photostream.
- Second, if I did want to create an image specifically for my banner, where is the information on sizing requirements?
- Third, apparently, you can only select one of your "Recent" photos to serve as your banner. I originally tried to create a banner using an image I had uploaded in 2009 – no can do. In order for me to use that image, I would have to upload the image to Flickr again (placing it in my photostream), set it as the banner, and then delete the duplicate image. Why can I not navigate to an image in my stream and set it as the profile or banner picture from within the image's page?
- If you were logged into Flickr, the home page used to display recent activity. Now, the homepage shows you huge images uploaded by your contacts. To get to the recent activities page, you have to go to different link (http://www.flickr.com/activity). Can Flickr give me the option to bring up the "Recent Activities" page when I go to flickr.com?
- Flickr has changed its pricing structure and the benefits of each level. I liked the older, simpler structure better - Free or Pro.
Things I like:
- Flickr released an updated Android app at the same time it rolled out major changes to the website. The app as long been neglected by Flickr, so I'm glad to see resources devoted to its development. In my opinion, the app has improved greatly. It's significantly faster, and the viewing experience is certainly better. However, it's still not perfect. Navigation isn't as intuitive as I think it needs to be.
- Giving 1 terabyte of storage to free users is a step in the right direction.
Those are my thoughts having spent a couple of hours with the new Flickr. It seems that Flickr decided to copy the look and feel of Google+; so far, I can't say that I'm a fan of the changes. After I get more familiar with the interface, I may enjoy it more. But for now, a lot of the changes are hard to swallow. I didn't cover the details of the new membership plans, but you can read about them here.
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