Flickr has been beta testing their new and improved homepage for a few weeks now, and has today finally released it into the wild for public use. I must admit I was a bit concerned the Timothy Leary style Explore page panda was going to be part of it, but we can all rest easy - it is not.
Flickr talks a bit about the newer, more streamlined and easy to navigate homepage on their blog. They have even included some handy video screencasts for you to learn the differences and the reason behind the redesign. Though the benefits were immediately apparent when I logged in.
Moving the ads and related sponsored services block down to the lower right is perhaps my favorite change of all. I got tired of seeing ads for Moo Cards and custom credit cards every time I went to log into my stream. The whole page looks much better without that front and center.
I also like my photo stream being moved to the top, as well as those of my contacts and friends. The pictures are, after all, why we are using Flickr, right? It’s about time they got featured. I see the multiple language greeting is still in place, which should make old Flickr loyalists happy and continue to confuse Flickr newbies for a while, same as always.
Having my contacts toward the top was a great move, and so was adding the continually refreshed Explore area. Each time the page refreshes, you get a new set of explore photos. This is nice, since Explore is often a feature I forget to use on Flickr.
It seems Flickr took a page from Twitter and FriendFeed’s recent design upgrades and chose to make changes that would drive us to the social features of the site and increase time spent on Flickr overall, but not turn off the regular Flickr crowd. That is a smart way to handle it, and should make the transition easier for those users who have trouble with change.
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