The new Flickr: thoughts?

Flickr was once one of the most exciting sites on the web, essential for most creatives. But after it was bought by Yahoo in 2005 things started to drift. Will its new redesign refire users’ enthusiasm?

Flickr was once one of the most exciting sites on the web, essential for most creatives. But after it was bought by Yahoo in 2005 things started to drift. Will its new redesign refire users’ enthusiasm?



In the light of Yahoo’s purchase of Tumblr, and promise not to “screw it up” the relaunch of Flickr is interestingly timed to say the least. Here’s one acquisition which many feel Yahoo certainly did “screw up’ – or at least failed to give sufficient love and attention to.

The redesign is an attempt to address that, promising “a Flickr that’s more spectacular, much bigger, and one you can take anywhere”. Users now have a terabyte of storage space – an unimaginable amount even ten years ago.

The new homepage (see top) is a vast improvement, doing away with the old thumbnails to present images from your contacts in a grid, giving maximum space to photographs. Something also carried through to photostreams and sets



Looks like we need to update our icon…..



Apparently, Yahoo’s Adam Canah had admitted that “Flickr had become about words, little images, and blue links…Flickr really was not about the photo anymore.” This is a much more visually appealing site with the accent firmly on the image and the text elements relegated to the margins.



But there are signs that the redesign so far is only skin deep with some areas a mix of old and new  – here’s the graphic design group pool for example



and the groups list


Users are rightly suspicious when large companies acquire start-ups – things move slower in bigger companies and priorities differ. Tumblr users have been left wondering whether it will meet the same fate as Flickr.

Yahoo have finally got around to giving Flickr some much-needed TLC but is it too little too late? What do readers think? Impressed by the redesign or not?



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  • Everyone hates change, so it’s probably worth letting it bed in a bit first.

    That said…

    This feels like a rushed out beta phase.

    Flickr is evidently chasing after camera phone users, and people browsing on mobile devices. It’s tried to copy its iPhone / Android app design over to the web, but in the process has forgotten about a vast swathe of its current users. (Check out the official feedback page:

    Those users valued the conversations that went on around their images as much as the images themselves.

    Although Flickr’s aim of prioritising the photos themselves is admirable, the re-design does this at the cost of relegating the comments section to an area off-screen, which sucks.

    The way they implemented this new design also leaves a lot to be desired – they did a bit of user testing, but didn’t then warn the rest of their users that a huge change was coming. Nor did they give those customers any options about whether or not to switch to the new design.

    The main photostream pages are too densely packed, lacking the white space to let the images breathe. Indeed, the page resembles the Google image search page more than anything. Again, it feels like the design of the app has informed this, when they’re starkly different ways of experiencing content.

    Another sign of Flickr not caring for its current users is that it has re-cropped the images that are used as cover images for each set – that’s just rude. (As is the caption that states you should update your profile icon “to a bigger, better photo”.)

    Going into a single photo page, the photos now appear against a black background – a royal pain in the butt for those of us who have spent time cutting out artworks and images to sit them against white. Not leaving an option for users to select that background smacks of a lack of thought.

    And it seems like the slideshow function isn’t even loading up for me.

    Flickr sorely needed an update, but this feels like a poorly implemented, half-thought out design that is happy to alienate existing users.

    Damn shame.

  • At least they have seen sense and changed their Terms of Service to something far more acceptable for the image makers that post their work on Flickr. The new TOS restrict any potential distribution just to other ‘…Yahoo! Services and solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available.’ ( 9:b)

    Lisa Pritchard

  • Marissa Mayer: “There is no such thing as a professional photographer anymore.” – cheers … and now Flickr is a site for beardy, spectacly, drainpipe-trousered, v-neck t-shirted, Instagrammed fucking hipsters …

    hey, what do i know? i’m over 50!

  • About £30 a year for unlimited storage to about £300 a year for limited space is not an improvement for me. I shall be taking my multiple pro accounts elsewhere …when I find a good alternative.

  • At the moment it’s a touch buggy. The infinite scrolling on photo stream pages makes links in the footer impossible to click, and there’s pagination down there too for some reason. Little things like that smack of lack of forethought and will really annoy what was once a very dedicated group of core users.

  • Basically there’s a storm of poo going on right now on the forums ( the design is pretty poor to be honest. Whilst change is good where it improves things, this doesn’t. As I write they are already on the 118th page of mostly negative comments.

    To top it all, the CEO Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has pronouced, “There’s no such thing as Flickr Pro today because [with so many people taking photographs] there’s really no such thing as professional photographers anymore,” all this has really achieved is to show up how utterly ignorant she is both about photography generally and professional photographers.

    There’s also a poll on whether or not users like, or dislike the new interface: At the moment it stands at 93% hatred. I voted in the negative I’m afraid.

    The words: utter, PR and, disaster come to mind.

  • Chris

    Where once stood a rather dishevelled looking photographer’s gallery, stands now a bright, dazzling wallpaper shop. Clean and uninspired.

  • as Ric said in The Young Ones: “Did you see that? Did you? “The voice of youth”! They’re still wearing flared trousers! Why don’t you try a bit of poetry, you hippies! ” … or something …

  • I am old enough now that nothing should surprise me any more, but that a bunch of, I suppose, professional website designers can f..k something up so totally comprehensively and be paid for it, is beyond belief.
    I have about 5,500 images on Flickr on a paid subscription basis. I will be looking for a new home for them, if there is not urgent action taken by whoever makes decisions to go ahead with changes without consulting the users. It is #101 of computer systems: Consult the user, duh!
    What’s wrong? You mean apart from Marissa Mayer being in charge? Well, so far,
    #1 I should be able to set default to my own photostream.
    #2 Full screen imagery alternative was already there with Flickriver – if it aint broke, why fix it?
    #3 Switching on an image to full screen results in the dance of the dots, and nothing else – or my patience ran out before the result appeared.
    Flickr needs to get a grip urgently and start paying attention to their customer feedback. So far it appears to be overwhelmingly negative. That is not because people don’t like change, which is the usual excuse trotted out by writers of crappy software, but because it is crappy in its present state.
    I have already taken the precaution of bulk downloading all 5,000+ of my flickr imagery with their EXIF data, using Bulkr software, in preparation for identifying a new home for them…

  • Kevin McDermott

    I’m a great believer in the old maxim ‘Why fix it if it wasn’t broken’

  • My thoughts on the new Flickr: “I was hoping for something better… but all I got was another Instagram.”

  • At the moment it fells like a kind of mixture between the newly designed site they want to move to and the old site they are trying to move away from. But not in a good hybrid kind of way.

    I like the new stuff they have added but at the moment it just doesn’t mix with the older pages.
    Worst of all the design has relegated the chat elements or made them harder to find. Making it kind of anti-social, maybe that was intended, but who knows.

  • Roger Bennion

    Maybe it is a bit early to have a moan. But, on my Desktop Computer a lot of pages simply will not load!! I know my Desktop Computer is from the dark ages but I am not gonna be forced into buying a new one until it ‘gives up the ghost’ for good :-) I seem to be getting on a little better with my slightly more recent Laptop. But, it is going to be a real shame if my Flickr activity starts fading away!

  • Me Man

    I want the old one back, this sh’t sucks big time, Its is a abnormal mutation between facebuk and winblous 8
    that never should see the light of the internet,

  • ashiq

    Flickr has lost its identity as a photographers’ hub. No photograph is complete without the story behind it. Marginalizing the description is really a poor thought decision.

    As somebody said, now its a google image search result page. I feel, this is an update for the sake of an update, just to keep in tune with other social media sites.
    Lets hope, soon flickr will consider the grievances of its customers before they start shifting to somewhere else.

  • Kirsten A

    I think Allistair’s comments sum all of the main problems up. It is abundantly clear that Monday’s revamp was completely out of touch with Flickr’s core users.

    The question now is, how will Yahoo respond to this negative feedback. I’m also worried about whether Flickr’s revamp will result in the core users leaving the site — as many of my contacts have said they are moving to Ipernity or Trovebox. If there is a mass defection, this will have a very negative impact on some users — including their livelihood. While Flickr is clearly a major platform for photographers, it has also become an important method of dissemination for special interest groups and hobbyists. A mass defection will clearly have a negative financial impact for some users.

    The changes also beg a much larger question about how major Internet sites conduct business. Many photographers developed their audience through the old style Flickr and some may stand to loose their audience, if not part of their business because of the new changes. Should the major players, such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo be given carte blanche to do as they please when it comes to these matters?

  • PatrickBurgoyne

    Thanks for all the comments so far. Kirsten A – I think your last point is a very interesting one. Users invest more than money in sites such as Flickr. They become important tools for professional life. But users have virtually no control over the operation of those sites. Overnight, something that you may have spent a huge amount of time in building could be altered so that it no longer has any value, or at least becomes substantially less useful to you than it once was.

  • Archie Macintosh

    Of course, Flickr / Yahoo aren’t interested in photography. Just look at the plans for Flickr:

    Marissa Mayer’s remark that there’s no such thing as professional photographers any more was not a careless, off-the-cuff comment. It was a marketing play aimed at the audience she wants to attract: mobile phone snappers, lured by a free 1Tb and flooding the site with uploads from their shiny new Flickr apps for Android and iPhone. They the commodity that Yahoo wants to sell as advertising fodder to big advertisers for mega-dollars.

    Flickr’s traditional photographers are surplus to requirements, as we don’t generate enough cash. So just watch NOTHING change as a result of all the storm of protest. Yahoo and Flickr aren’t listening.

  • Looks like a flat faced ripoff of 500px, which by the way folks is the new place you should be uploading your photography. Fantastic site, much better than the slowly dying flickr.

  • Jim Stump

    I think it’s a vast improvement, but it feels like this is the most love Flickr will receive from Yahoo for another couple of years. If it were Google they’d implement a much more iterative approach, constantly honing, tweaking and listening to users. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe this is Yahoo’s plan. I hope I am.

  • Emilio Vanni

    Mixed feelings. I love the new mobile app. Not sure on the web redesign so far.
    We should also keep in mind that *every* redesign for a major online service leads to complaints. :)
    Summed up:

    Yes, the old layout was “to small” for today’s standards, but do we really need a cover photo on top of a photography “gallery”?
    Or, at least, give me an option to disable it. There were some ways to customize your page on the previous version of flickr. All seems gone now.

    I do like the infinite scrolling of your photostream, you see much more pictures than what you usually did with the old pagination… but still, the photos will draw much more attention with some proper white space around.
    Again, I’m hoping some layout customization options will be reintroduced shortly.

  • john marks

    Given that the redesign doesn’t appear to have affected the underlying code, Flickr could have avoided this landslide of negative commentary by simply providing people the option of going back to the old interface. It seems to me that by not doing this, hundreds of users are simply bailing on it. Anyone with an eye for the bottom line in Yahoo must be horrified to see much publicity this goofup has generated for other photo sharing sites, some of which I’ve only learned abuot in the exasperated comment in various places on the net.

  • It’s an improvement IMO – the old photos were too small.

    My only criticism would be not enough white space around the photos.

    One extreme to the other.

  • Rob W

    What happened to the actions menu ??

    Not overly impressed with the new look, might be better if it could be customised

  • It’s utterly terrible and is no longer fit for my purpose. Previously my art was seen within context because I’d spent a lot of time writing blurb for my photos and organised my sets and collections. I got a lot of traffic to my art website from Flickr and I also engaged with a whole new audience over there. Now it’s messy visual wallpaper. You can’t even read the introductory text to my sets and collections have disappeared altogether. Frankly the site looks so bad that I’m embarrassed to even have my art up there now.

    I am not averse to change – I’ve been on Flickr as a paid user since 2006, so I’ve been through changes before. I wouldn’t have minded Flickr having a bit of a revamp but this is a fundamental sea-change in how the site operates and is funded. They moved from a subscription based service to an advertiser funded model without any warning for those of us with paid accounts and people are quite rightly peeved. They haven’t just given Flickr a new look, they’ve completely changed the contract that I thought I’d signed with them. It’s shoddy and dishonest and frankly, just what I’d expect from Yahoo. I’m surprised it took them so long to screw us over, to be honest. Look out, Tumblr, you’ll be next.

  • marek

    i need to see my sets in a smaller size pics, in the order that I put them into when uploading to the site. what i now have is huge images without any space, crowding themselves out. If i want to have a look at the smaller images I have to go onto another page and of course clever stupid the images are not in sets………progress and change is often uncomfortable but exciting……..this dump and stupid redesign is aimed at a different market,,,,,,,,i,m bailing

  • Trevor D

    Well, another example of negative progress. Flickr should go back to the old format until it gets sorted. The change is too radical. Was anyone of us paying customers asked about it? Sorry but it is rubbish. Unless it gets easier to use and looks more like the old version, I will be closing my pages and returning to Pbase. Sorry guys. You have made a balls of this and I fail to see what you thought you were doing. YOU ALL FAILED.

  • Stella

    I don’t know it it’s just because I live in the Netherlands but my photostream doesn’t show at all during about … I don’t know I stopped counting after 120 seconds (2 minutes). I have to send them an e-mail about it, this is sooooo poor for a pro-account!
    Hopefully they fix it fast.

  • Mark Corby

    The CEO in charge of this god awful mess doesnt even have a camera and uses a phone instead, Flickr is not about snapshots from a phone.
    And nor is any photography site.
    The 22,000 negative comments about the new changes speak for themselves..

  • Jim

    It seems to me that good photographs are intended to be seen individually, not all crammed up together in a semi-random infinite assemblage.

    Would you listen to your entire music collection simultaneously?

  • tyno

    terrible, new flickr is terrible. not more for photographer but for dolly whit iPhone…..!!!!!!

  • It confirms an old rule – big corporations cannot launch successful Internet services by themselves. It is better for them to buy outside start-ups. There is a new rule, if they try to better out established service they already bought, they will mess things even more.

    The old Flickr was functional and efficient, yes it lacked the HTML 5 vibe that every website seems to want now but it did its job. They could have focussed on few issues it actually had and polished it up a bit and made it fantastic instead they’ve made its look like a messy Instagram desk.

  • Anthony

    There seems to be no link for me to see my Account Details or Email Preferences. This sums up my impression of an update given to enthusiastic newcomers with little supervision by anyone experienced in how the site operates.
    I cannot see the photo description without selecting the photo then have to scroll down to do so. I cannot see geotagged data for a photo on the same page as the photo. If I click on MAP I get a map of the whole world with blogs where recently uploaded photos were taken. So if I have uploaded 11 photos in Barcelona I have to first zoom in on Barcelona then click on all 11 blobs there to find exactly where a particular photo was taken. Flickr seems to have lost all geotagged data uploaded before the “exciting” new update to the site. I have over 800 photos with geotagged data much of it painfully inserted manually – now all this seems to have been lost.

  • The new Flickr ia ugly and slow and no longer fit for purpose.

  • Red Ant Solutions

    There is no comparison between the old layout and the new one. Whilst the old one did nothing for the content (photographs), the new design is bold and draws attention to the pictures. The UX is friendly and intuitive. Flickr is now playing in the same league as 500px. There will always be a bunch of users missing the old layout just because they don’t like change.

    We say Welcome Flickr to the wonderful world of social media

  • Rhisiart Hincks

    I am still on Flickr but also now on Ipernity and whilst the activity on Flickr is vast and the contacts I have are important to me, I find I don’t enjoy uploading there any more as the page is such a mess. I still do upload but about one picture for every 4 I upload to Ipernity, where pictures can be seen individually and not like sardines in a can. I’ve almost stopped using Flickr groups.

  • Jim

    I’m astounded at how much the redesign has crippled basic functionality on the site, and, as someone who has been a paying customer for years and has sunk hundreds if not thousands of hours into uploading photos and tagging and submitting work to groups and trying to develop a well organized presentation of my work, I’m furious. Especially with the disregard they are showing to their serious users. I feel like I’ve had my time and my money wasted.

    Also, jamming every photograph together with no white space diminishes every single image, and it’s not how I want my work displayed.

  • David Ward

    Three weeks later and I think I can now offer a considered opinion. There are two key reasons why I do not like the new FLIKR. 1) photo descriptions are (almost) as important as the photos themselves. Without context most photos are simply not interesing. 2) It is far far too slow. In my part of England download speeds are still less than 1mb. Loading the pages of images is impossibly slow, often minutes elapsing before a full page is shown. As for loading a “my contacts” photo page – forget it. Only at my office with 8mb speeds is the new FLIKR anything like usable.

    I am not a blinkered old fogey and I can accept that some changes will not always be to my particular liking but when the basic functionality is so downgraded, it is hard to find much good to say about it. And, yes, I preferred the more subtle, less “in your face” presentation – as so many others have said. Just like other Pro users I will give FLIKR a period of grace but I have now opened alternative accounts. The great pity of all this is that Yahoo has all but destroyed a vibrant community.

  • kayne

    I’m amazed CR with more design sense than most aren’t slating new Flickr rightly and properly. Don’t even try to explain it CR, you know what it is huh?

    Once upon a time i would say Flickr had the best designed and most functional website/social networking site i’d ever been on and still “did” to this day, that good, it was clean and simple, worked a charm, and best of all it had soul. Yes, enter Yahoo and slowly but surely all that was good/holly about it was eroded away with little changes here and there. Essentially Yahoo didn’t and still many years on, god knows what they pay people, doesn’t have a clue or understand what it was they bought and what it is Flickr should be.

    This was clear a few years back when they last made a major change which was when i stopped going on there as it grated me to know things weren’t improved they were just being made more convoluted. Now there’s this almost complete face lift and having a quick peek confirms the train wreck that is Flickr. Get out people, salvage what you can, get out. If it doesn’t hurt your heart it will hurt your head.

  • Mike

    I am member since 2007 and have a Pro account, but I am far from being a pro at taking photos. I post pics of my old trucks and cars, cars I see at shows or that my friend and I mess with….that is all. I went Pro because friends wanted to see more than just the most recent 200 photos I had posted. Free account had the most recent 200 photo view limit.

    My Opinion of the NEW flickr update is stated below,

    A total screw up on the part of yahoo and flickr management and software teams, with NOT a care in the world for the faithful and loving flickr members or users that surf the site. Photos smashed together so tight the viewer has to fight to focus on where one begins and one ends, removed and / or deeply hidden user controls and options, and a very big hit in site / page loading performance. Plus soon to be Ads running through the pages to drag your eye away from the photos you love to look at, all for the sake of lining their pockets with bigger wads of cash.

    They are suckering you in with the 1tb free space in hopes you will not see how poorly the site is designed and how poor site performance is. Then ” I bet ” next they will try and blame it on the OH So many new users coming in their servers are having trouble handling the load….Yeah right !!

    It’s a shame they had to kill a highly loved classic looking well performing photo sharing site the way they did and for the reasons they did…WE want to get the point and click phone camera users here and to do that we need to look like the other OVER done sites they seem to flock to right now……What a crock of MOOSE POO, in my opinion Be DIFFERENT and BETTER at what you do, DON’T be a copy cat wanna be look-a -like.

    That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it.

  • New Flicker is not so much effective, I personally dislike it :(

  • Franz

    For destroying the usefulness flickr once had Marissa will get a bigger multi-million dollar bonus at the end of the year. Hey, it looks great on her iPhone!

  • ben

    i just hate the new format! takes ages to view my pics or others. dont know why they had to change something that was working perfectly well. i have now deleted my account as have some of my friends. there are loads of other photosharing sites around, seek and you shall find!

  • Mark

    Getting used to the new layout of bigger sized pictures now which are quite striking BUT the most annoying irritating thing about the new flickr is that if you leave a comment on a picture you then get to see every comment that is then left on that picture thereafter so when logging into flickr you are greeted by rows of comments by other people which i personally do not want to see, you often have to scroll down a long way before you get to a newly uploaded picture and can quite often miss a new picture from a friend as they are so far down the page. There should be a way of not having to see this and only be able to see recently uploaded pictures by your contacts/friends.

  • I love it, been scrolling a category through for ages…just a few more scrolls…

  • Keith Pickton

    changes are on the whole a failure… option to change black background (a lot of images suffer from being displayed like this…. all the images butted up together looks awful too and when slideshow starts each image appears and then starts to move jerkily…..if i want to view an image…I DO NOT WANT IT TO MOVE. I will not be renewing my pro account….changes have made it worse

  • Lucie

    It’s awful. it’s all been said before but I hate the fact that you can’t see comments, the photos are so squished, you can’t see the location of the shot, without searching for it. The community feel has gone for me now. Still havn’t managed to find where i can see someone’s profile information.

    I used to love being on flickr, daily checking out other’s stuff as well as loading and getting involved in ‘the community’. Since the change i have been going less and less.

    Thanks for all the suggestions of other sites, i have signed up ipernity now. Glad to hear of bulkr for bulk downloading. That will help with the move, but not my sadness at giving up on the site i have loved for so long.