Thursday, 25 November 2010

How Flickr Could Work

Commenting in a Group

Yesterday I described how tedious the current Flickr User-Interface is for the simple job of adding a photograph to a group and then commenting on a few photographs from that group.

This is practically the raison d'etre of Flickr. Why is it so painstakingly tedious?

This is how it could be.

So first things first. Here is the Flickr page with my image. Remember I want to add this to a group and then comment on some other photographs in that group.

To add this photograph to a group I click the 'Add to Group' button. (Click 1).

Notice that there is a dedicated button for adding the photograph to an 'Invite Only' group, another for adding to an "Admin Moderated' group and yet another if removing the photograph from a group.

This click brings up a box which lists all the relevant groups I can join and no others.

The list only contains the group I'm interested in. That means no 'Invite Only' groups, no 'Admin Moderated' groups, certainly no groups to which this photograph is already a member and preferably no groups to which I've already added my quota of shots.

To select the group I require to add the photograph to I click it. (Click 2).

My photograph is now in this group.

This brings up the group page, and shows the grid of most recent photographs in the group. Now I can choose a photograph to comment on. I'm assuming this is a group that likes you to comment on a number of photographs in the group when you add one of your own to it. In this case the group likes you to comment on two others.

To select the photograph I wish to comment on I click it. Click 3.

This brings up the following page. This page is not like any you can see on Flickr at the moment.

This page shows me three things I'm interested in and no others. The photograph I want to comment on. If I click on it I get the black screen big version. If I click on the Title of the photograph I go to the usual page which gives all the photograph's details and shows all it's comments etc.

I have a reminder of which group I'm commenting in. If I click this I go to the usual page which gives all the group details.

And I have the comment box. If I start typing it starts appearing in the comment box. When I'm ready I hit the 'Post' button and the comment is added to the photograph. (Click 4). As if by magic the comment is appended with the text 'Seen in Group X' and is perhaps also appended with the icon of the group. If it was up to me I would disallow any html in this comment box.

The interface now returns to the group page.

 I can now select another photograph to comment on.

The advantages of this interface are:

a) it's quick and simple
b) it encourages you to look at the photograph you are commenting on
c) it encourages proper comments not merely 'Seen in Group x'
d) it doesn't waste bandwidth by downloading tons of unnecessary stuff
e) it cuts out large graphics in comments
f) it cuts out animated gifs in comments

To facilitate this type of interface I'd add a couple of boxes to the group page for the group admins to manage. Like this ...

a) a text for appending to comments made for the group
b) an icon for appending to comments made for the group
c) a radio button indicating whether the group was 'Regular', 'Invite Only', or 'Admin Moderated'.

Nothing more needs to be added really. Wouldn't it be a pleasure to add comments to photographs if it was this easy?

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