I wish @flickr set pages featured larger photos. So much untapped potential to wow.— Rion Nakaya (@riondotnu) May 1, 2013
Rion totally nails something that has been sticking in my craw for the last six months or so. Ever since the rollouts of features that vastly improved the Flickr experience, the old design of the pages for holding sets of photos is really underwhelming. Here's what an epic set of photos taken by Jon Armstrong looks like as a set:
Kind of boring right? It doesn't reveal too much about the incredible photography contained within when you click through one of the shots:
I think they can do a lot more with the page for showing off a set, they could obviously go for larger photos, they could change the layout to be more like the "photos from contacts" page where images automatically expand to fill the available width and get to dominate the screen. Perhaps they could also change the sizing so that amazing small sets like Jon's above could be much larger, where a set of maybe 100 images are still larger, but not quite as large as a small set.
If I know anything about Flickr, it's that I would bet $1,000 someone has not only redesigned the set page eons ago, but it has been through testing and is being tweaked behind the scenes and will see the light of day someday soon. I also have another idea.
Flickr should start supporting blogging
How much more impressive would Jon's photos from Utah be if his photo set looked more like the following mockup? (click for a larger version)
Write a title, a few short summary sentences, and then fill out the story between each photo. Yes, I know it looks a little like Medium, that's obviously a similar kind of layout. Yahoo, post-Marrisa Mayer has been doing some interesting things and Flickr seems newly rejuvenated. I love the service to death and wish it had uptake among my friends like it once did. I really think it's time to try some new wacky ideas on Flickr and perhaps doing something closer to something that looks like blogging, that lets people showcase their work and their prose is a way this could go.
Since Flickr doesn't currently support this, I tend to post these sorts of things on my own blog. Last summer I took an amazing family trip across Italy and came back with loads of great photos, but here's how they look as a Flickr set:
I would have no qualms about publishing that same story of taking trains across Italy on Flickr instead of my own site, and in the context of the whole set's images, it might make better sense there.
Anyway, I'd love to see more courageous moves coming out of Flickr, and one small place to start could be the sets pages.