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Will Revamped Flickr be a Hit?

In the web design world, change is both essential and inevitable.

With tech and visual trends constantly developing, you simply can’t afford to be resistant to change. Simply put, if your website looks out-of-date, then every indication would be that it is out-of-date.

Change is essential, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not controversial. The reality is that we’re creatures of habit – and our internet usage is only serving to reinforce this tendency – and can often be opposed to change. Ironically, we tend to find revamped commercial website designs attractive and compelling, but revamped social media and news sites confusing and frustrating!

This tends to be particularly true when a website has a particularly large and loyal following. You only have to look at regular improvements made by the BBC, Facebook and Twitter to see the frustration that a new web design can have on its audience.

Yahoo’s $1 billion acquisition of Tumblr has raised eyebrows in the tech and business world, with many questioning the impact that such a takeover (and likely modifications, not least monetization) will have. However, less prominent has been Yahoo’s revamping of popular photo-hosting service Flickr.

Loved for its simplicity, affordability and strong sense of community, Flickr has long been an online home-from-home for amateur and professional photographers alike. However, viewed alongside constantly-evolving social media and blogging platforms, it had started to look dated.

What do we think of the changes? Well, they’re certainly visually impressive. The outdated tile view has been replaced by a wall-to-wall gallery view. Individual profiles now boast the kind of visual boldness and clarity that makes you want to share them. In Flickr’s own words, the web design certainly is ‘Spectaculr’.

However, the bigger implications of the revamp relate to functionality and user-experience; Flickr have labelled themselves ‘Biggr‘ and ‘Wherevr‘. The service now offers an incredible 1TB of free storage for users – easily enough for most amateur photographers to host their entire collection – and much improved sharing options.

However, impressive though these changes are, not everybody is convinced that they are a good thing. The reaction from Flickr’s hardly online community, for example, has not been positive. Gary Marshall’s insightful piece for techradar puts it this way:

Pros may have made Flickr what it is – and kept it alive during Yahoo’s long years of neglect – but they’re not a great demographic for ads, and that’s what Flickr is chasing now. Flickr used to beg photographers to go Pro. Now, it seems, it wants the pros to go.

Whether or not this proves to be the case remains to be seen. We’ve often seen revamped social media web design resisted by loyal followers, only to find that the changes are quickly adopted and enjoyed in the long-term. It’s clear that Flickr offer a highly attractive service to photographers.

Why not have a look for yourself and let us know what you think? You can find our VizionOnline Flickr photostream here.