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April 24, 2014

Flickr 3.0: More than an Update

Screenshot 2014-04-24 at 12.04.14 AM

Consider this my personal “thank you” to Yahoo!

The importance of a company listening to it’s audience has been repeated ad-nauseum. However, it’s rare to see dramatic action being taken based on that philosophy. Seeing those changes implemented all at once is even more rare. The latest update from Flickr does just that.

I’ll admit, when Flickr first announced it’s Android and iOS apps’ update, I was hesitant to give it a try.

I’ve been disappointed by Yahoo’s photo-sharing service’s previous updates, but the abundance of photo opportunities over a recent vacation with my two sons pushed me to give it another chance.

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Let’s get one thing out of the way before I begin singing the praises of the redesign: some will argue that it is an all too close imitation of a more popular imaging app, and this criticism does carry legitimacy upon initial review. The emphasis on a square format and “vintage” live filters will, undoubtedly, be familiar to Instagram fans.

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However, I want to focus on particular improvements that I believe came from listening to user feedback and adopting a more forward thinking strategy. Many of the enhancements have been requested by frustrated users for quite some time.

Like many before me, I always felt as if the app was an afterthought for the service. The concentration seemed to be on the browser version, with the app designed around that focus. This has all changed with Flickr 3.0. The new design for mobile is slick and fluid, with a new UI to make even the most hesitant mobile photographer consider making this their new home.

Sharing and interaction is an emphasis on the new version. Examples of this abound, with my favorite feature allowing users to now tag people in image titles and comments by using the @ sign. Similar to other networks, the hashtag feature can be used in search, which, by the way, is freakishly accurate and detailed, showing results based on groups, people, time, date and location. This made it even easier than ever to discover new photographers to follow.

Flickr’s new timeline is as clean as mobile users have come to expect. Images are now presented one at a time- each with the clear option of sharing and commenting.

Perhaps as a testament to their new perspective, Flickr’s vice president, Bernardo Hernandez said in a blog post,

“Whether you’re new to Flickr or one of our biggest fans, we want you to know the new apps…represent our commitment to building new products for your changing needs.”

While this may come a little late for some, it’s indicative of a direction that behooves us all to follow.

If I could change one thing about the app, it would be the required Yahoo login. Based on what I am hearing other photographers say on the social networks, I know that the service would have many more new and active users if not for that requirement. Who knows, maybe the good listeners at Flickr will see this blog post and change that as well!

-Jason

jason@zulaapp.com

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