Bug Report: Gawker Media’s photo galleries

I’m going to try something new here, doing little posts called “bug reports”. I guess I could submit this to This Is Broken, but there’s sort of a negative connotation with that because everyone just piles on in the comments and I just want to help people out by clearly laying out bugs I’ve found so they can improve their product and I can enjoy a better experience.

Today I’m mentioning the photo gallery hack that Gawker sites like Lifehacker and Jalopnik use because I see them everyday and have learned to avoid them because I don’t think they really work all that well. There are two main problems here:

1. RSS readers like reblog display escaped php in the entry. Perhaps it’s just my web-based reader but I don’t get anything useful from something like this (screenshot of a lifehacker post with a gallery):

FirefoxScreenSnapz001.png

2. Using the galleries themselves is cumbersome. With OSX/Firefox, when I click on an image, a few moments later, the blog entry reloads, and I have to manually scroll down to see the image. Clicking on Next properly jumps back down, but requires another page load, which can be slow. At times I’ve given up after 1 or 2 photos because the reloads are taking 10-20 seconds.

Here is a video of that in action

I have the feeling that the gallery works the way it does to encourage more pageviews, for advertising purposes, but it results in a poor experience for users. I tend to not even look at galleries and instead follow whatever links are in the entries to see photos somewhere else.

Suggestions for a solution: The easiest thing would just be using MT’s built in image popup links. Or you could dump them into a Flickr set. Best solution would be an in-page dhtml widget that could show the first photo and cycle through them all without requiring any page loads at all, so visitors could quickly and painlessly view an entire gallery in seconds without losing their place or forced to wait for server responses.

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