My point of view. The New Fotopark

Yesterday I received a newsletter announcing the new layout of Leica’s photo sharing platform, Leica Fotopark.  I tried it out and here I will write about some of the changes and glitches.

The background of this post is this. I didn’t want to write this in the first paragraph, but I spent the last two hours trying to fall asleep, and it didn’t work out as I wanted. Neither does the new Leica Fotopark. But I don’t think Leica can blame it on a late afternoon americano coffee.

I’ve been sharing my pictures in the Fotopark for about one year. Since I first got here, there was this message saying they are working on the mobile version and below it was a button that would take you to the desktop version of the website.

What I didn’t expect a couple of days ago was to see that I can’t access my pictures due to some upgrading of Leica’s sharing photography platform Fotopark.

I was worried and curious, at the same time. As a photographer, I was more worried because I spent a good amount of time liking and favouring other photographers images. You know the drill. It’s the same everywhere you go, Instagram, Flikr, 500px, Fb, etc. If you want credit you have to give credit. In this case, hearts (likes) and start (favourites). Also, what if during the upgrade something went berserk and my gallery would vanish?

But, as I know a thing or two about UI, UX, graphic design, etc. I was even more curious to see what they were working on for so long. Especially because I used the platform quite often and I had my pros and cons about it from the beginning. I actually was thinking about writing a post in March about Leica Fotopark, but I focused more on running at that time.

It took them a short amount of time to make the platform online again, but it took me less to see the first glitches. I hope you will agree with me that focusing on the glitches we will have way more fun. Nothing like bad publicity they say.

1. The password field. 

Screenshot 2016-08-17 02.09.14

This is not an annoying one. It’s just that it doesn’t look good when the remembered password is overlapping the word “password” itself. The “email address” flows automatically upwards, but the “password” seems to require a trigger to go up. Doesn’t remind me of the German precision and design, but it’s only one click away from looking just right.

2. The photo stream is not that responsive.

 

 

Or it is, but it looks as if it has only two states. For tablets and phones. Anything for larger displays? If you can see the print screens above, there is some amount of white space on the sides, which could be used to increase the size of the images. If you zoom out a bit, it’s the same thing. I must admit this is slightly subjective. On one side you have the 500px way, where your screen is flooded with images, and on the other side The Fotopark kept it’s original layout, which is something different. The argument may be that you are attacked by less information at once so you can enjoy the pictures at a different pace. I will think about it.

3. The notifications system. 

Screenshot 2016-08-17 00.05.14.jpg

Because all you ever wanted is more notifications. Well, as a matter of fact, you do want more notifications, but only when they have some sort of connection to your work. Now there are notifications about pictures being uploaded by the people you followed. And probably most of the people there don’t want this kind of noise to their self-centered notifications.

Screenshot 2016-08-17 00.19.00

Yes, I went to the settings of my user account, to the notifications part, and, to my surprise, they have a list of notification settings. But, at least in my case, it doesn’t work.  The boxes for receiving notifications about any picture of the people I followed were not checked, but still, more than the half of the notifications I get now, are these. The first time I logged in on the new platform, I had hundreds of notifications. At least they don’t send any email about it. That would be real chaos.

4. The buttons. Screenshot 2016-08-17 03.05.00.png

The star and the heart icons are the same, but the button changed from rounded rectangles to these sharp edged. They are slightly bulkier, and probably it would look much better if they were on the bottom part of the photo, on the opposite part of the title, and the edit icon on the top. Again, this is subjective, it can go either way, but at least now I have more clicking space.

One of my big problems was when I was scrolling down the stream of photos and I would click on the picture. That would take me to the picture page, and I would lose track of where I was on my path scrolling down to the last picture I saw. It doesn’t keep track of where were you scrolling now either, but at least the buttons are harder to miss.

5. Some photographers don’t show up in the list. Let me draw you a picture here. There’s this users list, the photographers. You can sort them from A to Z, from Z to A, by the number of photos, newest on the platform, or by the number of followers. I know how many followers I have, but I don’t show up in the list where I am supposed to show up.

Probably they removed this option you’d say. Why showing me, when I am already logged in. On the previous version they did. But then I looked for other photographers. I searched for the friend who first introduced me to Leica Fotopark, who has twice as many followers, and he doesn’t show up in the list either. But he still is an active user, since he liked a bunch of my photos. Some weird stuff going on there. I hope it’s just a database glitch and it will be sorted out soon.

I sure hope I won’t be banned from the Fotopark for this article. I have only love for the platform and the people there. I like the new stuff they brought. The dashboard, the big fat red UPLOAD button, how organized notification system, the sharp edged heart and star buttons, etc.  and probably the small bugs did not appear through testing. Who knows, maybe in a day or two everything will be fixed. Fingers crossed.

Unfortunately, there is still no way of presenting your work to people that are not  Fotopark users, and still no way of adding a link in a photo description, not even with HTML tags.

 

Yours,

Sabin P.

 

Update:

  1. They fixed the part with the photographers. Now everybody seems to be there.
  2. Apparently, there is a language issue. Even though I change it to English on the log in screen, it then redirects me back to the page in Deutsch. And it is annoying since the language menu is in the footbar, and all the pictures continue to appear on the stream. So I have to go in a different side of the page, eventually my account, push the End button, so the page will scroll down to the footer, and just then I am able to see the platform in English. I should probably learn Deutsch. Not a bad idea.

 

2 thoughts on “My point of view. The New Fotopark”

  1. And how does one edit a photo, other than adding tags and description? I would like to look at filters and other options but the layout is different so I don’t know how to do this now… How do you do it?

    Colourvein

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have a point here. I didn’t notice this because I am editing the pictures in other software, in Lightroom. In the previous version of the Fotopark, somehow I remember they had a built-in editing process available. Perhaps it wasn’t seen as useful, so they decided to discard it and just keep to the metadata editing. I guess for the Leica users, and for analog photographers, that tool was more than useful when you wanted to edit pictures on the go, without third parties.

      From my point of view, this goes hand in hand with the attitude towards showing the pictures outside the Fotopark, which is not possible, you don’t have the possibility of sharing a link to your profile, pictures or projects, and the platform is losing a possible wider audience. I understand it in a sense where you want to be different as a platform, or to avoid growing a large audience and focusing on the interactions between the smaller number of users, but at the end of the day, photography is all about showing it to other people. Especially to other people than photographers. Sorry for this long detour in my reply to your comment.

      Overall I think this update took the Fotopark in a wrong direction. From all the changes I can’t think of a relevant one for a better user experience, and there were small details that would make a big difference if improved. My conclusion is that the “upgrade” was, in fact, more of a facelift, to get rid of the “go to mobile version” message that was there for quite some time, but without considering the user that much.

      Best regards,
      Sabin.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s