What do you think of the new Flickr photo page? I like the big image.
The dark theme is a bit like 500px or SmugSmug. Flickr was one of those places where the white background - if I remember correctly - elicited strong and philosophical opinions from the old-timers.
The design also reminds me of photo editing software like Lightroom. Which makes sense. The primacy is on the photo now versus context, mamby pamby concepts like stories, conversations, or moments. It feels very mechanical and functional versus the “Zoinks” and “Egads” of yesteryears. It’s more like a dashboard instead of a gallery, more tool than community. Given Yahoo’s size, it makes sense to compete on storage and management of all your photos versus interactions (Instagram I think is the current leader here).
As an aside, when will visual design move past the tables and boxes of basic HTML? There are a lot we can learn from print and magazine layouts, now that we have the tools to translate that understanding into the proper digital language… anyways, I digress.
One of these days when I don’t have 5 billion projects, I want to write something called “Social networks are like relationships” or “The Flickr I used to Know” or something like that.
Flickr, a place to store your photos. Now with a terabyte. That’s pretty decent marketing.
Oh wait, this is on Flickr’s blog:
Flickr is a revolution in photo storage, sharing and organization, making photo management an easy, natural and collaborative process.
Seems like storage is the main priority.
Full disclosure: I was the product guy in charge of the design of Flickr’s photo page in 2010. The mamby pamby ideas of photos as mini stories are mine, and sadly, I never got to see them realized in the larger Flickr ecosystem (photostream, activity feed, groups, sets, favorites, galleries, and more) before I was frustrated with Yahoo and moved to NYC and Tumblr. It’s been a few years now, and I wish the current team at Flickr well. Excited to see what comes ahead!
PS - I miss the map :(
When building Selfie, we considered design very seriously. Only the product with the highest standards of beauty, pixel-perfection, and Jony Ive form-function of shapes, colors and brushed metal was allowed to grace the hands of users. And we also had rules. We love rules here at Imagist Labs.
- Icons: Conform to Apple’s guidelines for icons. Icons are the first bits of your product a user interacts with. It’s important.
- Colors: Use the defaults whenever possible. They’re defaults because they have been tested by experts smarter than you.
- Buttons: If you must have text, make sure they’re really small. They’re buttons for chrissakes. If you can’t make users feel the want to tap your button, all the copy in the world won’t change that.
- Core product value: For us, it’s about the faces (stupid.)
- Shapes: Circles and squares go perfectly well together. Don’t be afraid to mix things up, like having avatars be circles and squares.
- There are no constants but exceptions: Ugly is the new pretty. Flat is the new texture. Getting the product out kicks pixel perfection’s ass.
Capital D for design ya’ll.
If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.
Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn founder
Found this relevant to our little Selfie experiment. I’m not embarrassed by the ugly design: I’m ecstatic to have produced the perfect blend of design, usefulness and meaning in this sad lonely world.
Random drinks with a whiskey & car enthusiast has brought to my attention that the Volvo p1800 might be my dream car.
Yet we do see desktop UI in some of the most popular mobile apps. The biggest offender is the “junk drawer” button. Facebook uses it in their app.
That junk drawer button feels like a cop out.
The folks at Instagram invented a new native touch gesture. Liking a photo by double tapping the actual photo itself.
Previously, on the desktop web, liking a photo or some other thing, meant moving your mouse to a small (like, heart, fav) button and then clicking it.
The Instagram guys ditched the requirement for a little button click and replaced it with a big touch friendly gesture. Two taps and bam, a heart pops up and you’re done. Very satisfying.
I agree about gestures as a natural way to communicate actions on mobile — but conflating a menu/navigation item with an action (liking, republishing, etc.) seems to compare apples to oranges. For apps like Facebook and Path with full featured experiences (streams within streams, events, apps management) — I find the menu button + sideswipe gesture really works. I also appreciate that Tumblr’s text/photo post gestures are shortcuts and alternatives - Hiding important functionality behind gestures may be something that users evolve to learn, but the road there is still long (I was watching some women exclaiming how hard Instagram was to use the other day!)
Testing out some colors. It’s hard. Liking these combos but they’re really divorced from the context so liking them just for their inherent colorness and finding it hard to wring some usefulness out of them. It’s like saying: oh yeah, I love bacon ice cream.. but right after a pig roast?
Stories” are getting into the mainstream lexicon for tech companies. Facebook is certainly pushing the concept in all their communications:
Facebook is inherently telling a story, Deng said. Stories are about remembering the past, helping us understand the present and building an identity of who we are. This is why Facebook exists. It is inherently a storytelling platform.
- Peter Deng On How Facebook Develops Mobile Apps
Oh yeah. Stories.
Your photos [on Flickr] – everyday captures and extraordinary sightings, local scenes and exotic moments – are central to our DNA because they reflect your individual stories.
- Me circa 2010
The idea of narrative in tech has been around for while. Notably ex-Flickr guys like George Oates and Aaron Cope were early thinkers way back in 2008/2009 and I first thought about stories in social products from them. “Stories” have now progressed from academia to current marketing campaigns, and Tumblr Storyboard, Facebook Stories and Twitter’s Stories are literal interpretations (like most marketing ideas).
This move from product features to marketing exercises suggests that “stories” is a primeval enough concept to be an organization model for online interactions.
Stories have basic ingredients:
1) What’s happening: everyone does this now via feeds/streams, and Path in particular is killing it with their network UI.
2) What happened: No one is doing this well. What happens to the stuff you post on Facebook, Twitter, et al? Lots of that stuff is amazing! So much is stored in your likes, your faves, your hearts and your archives. Ever go back to Friendster and read your testimonials? In fact, it’s why I use Foursquare — I like to remember where I’ve been and what I did.
Timehop (a la Photojojo’s Time Capsule) is investigating this space. So is Recollect. Facebook’s Timeline gives some lip service. And Tumblr’s archive view remains one of the most well constructed features for users to go back in time (although Tumblr’s not really set up to be personal stories as much as some other networks).
By and large, the major networks are still focused on the the tiny sliver of the present. It’s expensive and hard to process the past. But there are huge opportunities here.
I think (maybe it’s crazy) that’s there an optimal UX to re-affirm the past. The current reverse chronological feed isn’t it. And funneling it to search sidesteps the serendipity core to every story.
3) What will happen: An interesting aside. How do you capture intent & aspirations? There’s a whole category here for drafts, works in progress, queues, etc… but I have no idea if there can be an interesting product to be built around the idea of the future as a bucket for stories.
How will the “stories” concept evolve? After all, we’ve all been sitting around campfires gesturing at each other and putting dyes on cave walls in some form for thousands of years.
The potential is amazing for a Facebook or a Path with growing datasets to do something besides literal interpretations — and we’re still in the very early phases.
What if timelines can offer users thematic clusters like:
- Natural group dialogues between friends that carry meaningful themes and phrases;
- Events (and their media and their attendance and other contextual info)
- Venues that have personal significance (e.g. a cafe where you have early breakfast meetings during an important period in your life, for instance)
Can you tease patterns out and create narrative arc from the data that we put in the system? Can features be mined from slideshows or event-mapping or something else? Dialogue needs to occur not just between you and your friends, but also you and the platform; otherwise we’re just generating a bunch of data for advertisers.
/late night thoughts, rambling
The #allnew4sq design process has been wildly rewarding. Our designers examined everything from our typography to our iconography, seeking to maintain foursquare’s playfulness while evolving our style and our brand.
Although our designers spend most of our time in Photoshop or…
Props for the product process at 4Sq, and altho I have a few nitpicks with the new app, a good re-think to making the offline/online connection really enjoyable to play with.
I’m in love with Zack’s gorgeous new project: New York Moon. It uncovers such a referenced (but very lacking in coverage) topic: I’ve always been fascinated by things that are lost as we advance and hoard knowledge (?), facts (?) and cruft. Wax and wane.
The Moon explores topics of time and space, structures trapped beneath the city, translation, neighborhoods, the desert, water and nostalgia. Foremost in all works is a fearless embrace of the changing world that is accompanied by a fascination with our rapidly aging past. For there is no way to step boldly forward without examining the minutiae of our history.
Very excited to see what the editors have in the queue.