It’s been a while since Flickr made any major changes to its user interface after social media and mobile computing became an integral part of everyday life. To combat these lifestyle shifts, Flickr is finally getting a site makeover to make the user experience more slick, seamless and mobile-friendly.
The new design goes against everything we’ve learned in photography: less white space, more content. It seems to work for blogs like Pinterest, so would it work for Flickr? The new photostream would resize each photo to the same height and fit them neatly in rows, reducing the amount of times users have to go on to the next page to view more pictures. The image titles and captions are also removed entirely from the stream, and are only visible when the user hover over each photo to get more information. This new grid design should also work well on mobile and touchscreen devices, as the current interface has information spread across the page with image content located on the left side, additional folders and photo info to the right, and comments scrolled down toward the bottom. Also new to the redesign is an upgrade to its photo upload system that will soon utilize a drag-and-drop feature to begin transfers before allowing users to title, sort and tag photos.
In January, Flickr also changed its pricing structure by adding a Flickr Pro account option for $6.95 for three months of service. The price for a two-year subscription was also reduced by $5 down to $44.95, a small but significant move as a way Flickr may aim to compete against other popular photo community sites such as Instagram, Picasa, 500px, and social networks like Facebook and Google+. However, in an interview with Betabeat, Flickr’s head product manager Marcus Spiering seems rather shy about who its top competitors really are.
“It’s very hard to tell,” he said. “People use it in different ways.”
Spiering has a point: Many people use Flickr as a place to upload their portfolios, others use it as a free personal online album, and some purely use it as an image database to avoid paying for stock photos. But with the introduction of the aforementioned photo sharing sites, will Flickr get their community back with the redesign?
Flickr is also planning a separate makeover to its mobile department to change all instances of its photo community web presence. After all, the official Flickr Android app only arrived this past September despite the site being around since 2004 and acquired by Yahoo in 2005. The Flickr app for Blackberry will also be discontinued on March 1, 2012, though Flickr does have an App Garden for developers to create and share their Flickr-integrated applications across various platforms.
The new Flickr interface will go live next week on February 28, with the new Uploadr function following closely.