Flickr Changes: March 25, 2014

Published 2014.03.25, Updated 2017.09.02

For reference, the old photopage
See the original size (1916 x 1614)
On March 25, 2014, Flickr announced the rollout of what it had been calling the "New Photo Experience" (NPE), a complete redesign of what's commonly called the "photopage". This page is meant to document some of the changes.

First, it's only fair to say what users gained:
  1. The page is dark, with light text, for the first time in Flickr's history. Bravo.
  2. It's now possible to view the image full screen without leaving the page.
  3. Flickr claims it's "20x" faster, though in my tests, it loads the same amount of time as the old one.
  4. [I can't think of anything else right now.]
Now, read on to see what was lost.

UPDATE, 2014.04.25: In the month since the NPE's rollout, a few missing features have been re-added; I've edited the below to reflect that.

No Page Menu

Top menu on old photopage
See the original size (620 x 334)
Instead of the consistent, ever-present top-bar menu that Flickr introduced about a year ago, the NPE does not have a menu. There are no navigational links from the photopage now, other than links to other photos, or the "X" at top right that returns a user to the photostream.

(All other pages of Flickr have — and the photopage had until today — a beautiful drop-down menu across the top, linking users to their photostreams, sets, Organizr, recent activity, contacts [followers], groups [communities], various other pages, and the upload page.)

For me, this is the single biggest, most important omission, not because I think the menu itself is all that great (I complained about all the links it was missing when it was introduced, and it's still missing those links), but for two reasons: (1) it's one thing that every Flickr page has in common — until now, and (2) it's the single easiest, quickest way to always have access to certain pages on the site.

No Search Box

The NPE does not have the upper-right corner Search Box that all other Flickr pages have, and which the photopage had until today.

The Search box was not only a way to search for Flickr images — yours or others' — but was a quick way to access many pages on the site, including your contacts, Explore, Archives, etc.

Search box at upper right
See the original size (594 x 372)

Non-Memory of HTML Size

When you select a size to copy HTML, the interface does not remember the size you chose and always defaults to the 500-pixel size.

(Before this change, the photopage would remember the last size you chose.)

EDIT, 2014.04.25: Flickr re-added this feature late in April.

No Embed Code For Video

Embed code for video has been removed.

No Ability To Download Video

Users can no longer download their own videos. (And the FAQ has been changed so it no longer specifically says you can download video.)

2 Extra Clicks To Get To Specific Size

The old right-click dialog
See the original size (791 x 311)
If you want to get to a specific size of the image, it's now four clicks instead of two: (1) click the three-dot menu, (2) click "download / all sizes", (3) click "view all sizes", and (4) select your size.

In the previous photopage, you: (1) right-click on the photo, (2) click the size you want.

"Shift+Enter" To Make A Line Break

The NPE uses a non-standard method of inserting line breaks in comments: pressing the shift key simultaneously with the 'enter' key. Now, pressing 'enter' posts the comment instead of making a line break (similar to Facebook posts, also non-standard).

No Avatar / Buddy Icon (upper right)

The NPE does not have the avatar ("buddy icon") at upper right, which all other Flickr pages have. It's a quick way to access your account settings, the Help Forum, and Flickrmail. It also tells you how much storage you've used. The photopage had that avatar until today.

Upper right avatar menu
See the original size (543 x 383)

No Buddy Icon / Avatar (below photo)

Buddy icon menu on old page
See the original size (764 x 406)
Until today's change, every photopage had the user's "buddy icon" underneath it. The buddy icon functioned as a hidden drop-down menu, which which anyone could navigate to that user's other pages. Now there is no such buddy icon navigation.

(Though I think the new, circular buddy icons are ugly, I'm more concerned that they are now simple image links instead of useful drop-down menus.)

Less Display Space

Because of the new info column at right, photos no longer fill the width of the browser window, which makes them appear smaller.

While the right column can be dismissed — so the photo expands to fill the width — then all the info is gone as well.

(On the previous photopage, the photo filled the width, and all the info was below, available with a down-scroll or down-arrow click.)

Less Prominent Photo Title

Each image's title is now in smaller text, and is no longer bold. It's now smaller than the user's name, and appears to be part of the description.

EDIT, 2014.04.21: Flickr has once again made the title bold-face, but it's still smaller than the user's screen name. A small improvement.

Old title: white-on-black, bold, larger
See the original size (586 x 229)

Buddy Icon No Longer Displays In Replies

When you reply to a comment in the NPE, Flickr now uses the "screen name" of the other user, instead of their buddy icon. Here's the difference: They can change their screen name at any time, and then it won't be obvious to whom you replied.

(In the past, when you replied with a buddy icon, it would change if the user changed their buddy icon, so it would always be obvious to whom you replied.)

Hidden Info

The bottom section of the info column (below comments) is separated into three tabbed widgets. The "info" tab shows EXIF, location, license, filter, etc. The second tab, "Also In", shows which sets/groups the image belongs to, and the third tab ("tags") shows a "cloud" of the images tags.

(Until today, all this information was available on the photopage without clicking. Even if the page does load faster than before, by the time you've clicked to see all this information that used to be visible by default, it's taken longer than the old page.)

Less Useful Tag Links

The tags no longer link to that user's images with the same tag. Now, if you click a tag at the bottom of the right column, you're taken to a general Flickr Search of all images from all users with that tag.

(Until today, tags on the photopage gave the viewer a choice: images from this user or images from everyone. Even earlier, the tags only went to that user's images.)

Tag-link choices on old photopage

Tags and Links Added Without User Permission

If your description contains the number sign ( # ) combined with other characters, two things happen: (1) the character string (example: #1) becomes a link to a Flickr tag search, and (2) everything following the number-sign is added to your photo as a tag.

So, if your description says, for example, "Boat #12 won the race", then the "#12" becomes a link to a Flickr search for the "12" tag, AND "12" is added as a tag to your photo.

This one is true even for images added before March 25, 2014.

Unlinked Location

Popup map on old photopage
See the original size (1079 x 707)
If the user chooses to show her image's location, it's now simple text instead of a link.

The photo-owner could previously click the location name link to see an editable map, to change either the location name, or the actual location. Viewers could click to see the map.

The change makes the location text next-to-useless, especially for those of us who already put the location name in our tags or description. It also indicates that Flickr is deprecating the user maps.

Non-Navigable Context Strips

In the "Also In" section (sets, groups, etc.), there are merely four thumbnails for each set/group. The strips are no longer navigable, as they have always been before.

Navigable context filmstrips

Context Strips No Longer Actually Show Context

The context "filmstrips" on the NPE do not show actual context. They are just four static images, without the current image (as previously).

Removed "Content Type"

The NPE no longer shows "content type" (photo, art/illustration, or screenshot).

'Add A Tag' No Longer Helpful

When you add a tag, the page no longer suggests tags from your list, nor does it allow browser auto-fill to help, both features that were useful on the previous photopage.

Auto-suggest when adding tags

Icons Without Tooltips

In the NPE, there are several new icons in the right info column, some without tooltips, so you don't know what they mean, and just have to guess.

EDIT, 2014.04.21: Several tooltips have been added since I created this page, and at least three non-standard icons have been changed to legible and meaningful text. I found at least three icons that still don't have any explanation.

Date Without Explanation

Under the image's description, there is an unexplained date.

In the previous photopage design, the word "taken" preceded the date, so you knew what it meant. (And hovering over the date gave you a tooltip of the upload date.) The current one could be either.

UPDATE, 2014.04.11: Hovering now shows "date uploaded", partially correcting this problem.

"Taken on" and "Uploaded" dates

Removed Access To the 'Edit Titles, Tags, Dates' Page

This page was available when the NPE first rolled out, but was removed later. Now you can only edit the title/description on the photopage, and cannot edit tags at all without loading Organizr. There is a separate "Edit Dates" box that doesn't work.

Doesn't Show All Sets

Despite staff's assertion that "We display the sets and groups that the photo belongs to", the NPE only displays up to nine sets/groups that the image belongs to.

The previous photopage (and all past ones that I know of), showed all sets. All could be opened as navigable filmstrips.

EDIT, 2014.04.21: The NPE lists up to nine sets (now called "albums"), and if the image is in more than nine, there's now a link called "View all contexts". When you click it, it will load up to 10 more sets (albums) or groups — for a total of 19, but the last 10 are only text links. I tested with an image that's in more than 30 sets, and only 19 total sets showed up.

34 sets listed on
one old photopage
See the original size (243 x 989)

"Notes" Are Still There, But Hidden

Editing a note on the old photopage
See the original size (612 x 249)
After years of allowing users to draw "notes" on the photos — rectangular boxes with accompanying text — no notes are visible in the NPE, even the ones that were previously added, and there's now no way to add new notes.

Oddly, the old notes are still stored, but you have to know the secret to finding them: (1) scroll down the right column, (2) click on the icon for "tags", and (3) scroll down past your tags. If there were notes on the image, they'll be listed there and will show up when you hover over them. You now have a choice to delete the old notes, but can no longer edit them.

Some Keyboard Shortcuts Disabled

In the past, there were quite a few keyboard shortcuts that worked on the photopage. In my initial tests, about half the keyboard shortcuts no longer work in the NPE.

Expanded EXIF Can't Be Hidden

If you can find the "show all EXIF" link, it miraculously loads it in the same page (which is cool), but there's no way to hide it again.

Cannot Ctrl+C To Copy

In the NPE, you cannot copy text with the keyboard shortcut 'Ctrl+C', which — as far as I know — works everywhere else on the web and in every application I've ever used.

EDIT: 2014.04.25: This appears to be fixed now; at least I can copy with Ctrl+C on my own photopages.

Can't Add String of Tags

In the NPE, you cannot add multiple tags, if one of them is in quotes. For example, try adding flower "I love you" in the tag box. You'll end up with four tags, instead of two.

No Direct Link To Stats

The view count no longer links to the stats page, as it did before.

'Add To Group' and 'Add to Set' Dialogs Jump

When selecting the "Add to Group" or "Add to Set" dialog from the three-dots menu, you have to wait several seconds before selecting a group/set — if the image is already in groups or sets — because the sort-order will change in a few seconds. This can easily result in false clicks.

No Indication Of Submission to Moderated Group

If you add an image to a moderated group via the NPE, there is a popup that says you've submitted it, but when the list resets, that group isn't differentiated from the others.

So, for users with a long list of groups, there's no way to know to which moderated groups you've already submitted the image — other than memory.

Admin Invites Do Not Appear in NPE

(I'm taking other users' word for this one.) When your image is invited to a group by a group administrator, the admin invite does not appear on the photopage. Instead, you can access it only through Recent Activity.

No Indicator of Public/Private On Others' Images

If viewing another person's image, there's no icon on the page to tell me whether the image is public, or friends-only, family-only, or private. (I do have the icon on my own images.)

This might be important if you want to link to an image somewhere, but don't realize that you're only seeing it becaue the owner has marked you as a "friend".

Cannot Remove Image From Private Group

In the NPE, you cannot remove the image from a private group, as you could on the old photopage. (See screenshots.)

If you no longer belong to the group, then the photopage was the ONLY place from which you could remove it.

Cannot Change Image's Searchability

In the NPE, you cannot change whether an image is searchable, as you could on the old photopage.

Ability to change search settings on the photopage

Slideshow Link Removed

There used to be a "view in slideshow" link in the Actions Menu (later the "three-dot" menu) that is now gone.
Slideshow link in three-dot menu

No Indication Of Disabled Commenting

If the owner has disabled commenting, there is no indication except that the comment box is missing. (The old version said: "The photo owner has disabled commenting".)

"The photo owner has disabled commenting." on the old photopage
See the original size (1019 x 245)

No Way To Order Prints

The "Order Prints and more" link has been removed from the "three-dot" menu and so now there is no link on the NPE with which to order a print, even for your own images.

"Order prints and more" item in three-dot menu

No Permalinks For Comments

Every comment on Flickr (Help Forum, group threads, photopages, etc.) has what's called a "permalink" — a specific URL that will take the user directly to that comment. The NPE does not display the permalink.

EDIT, 2014.04.21: There is now a permalink icon next to the screen name of each user who's commented. However, it's just an icon that looks like a broken paperclip and there's no tooltip. So, like other icons on the page, you just have to guess what it is.

'Help' Link Changed and 'FAQ' Link Removed

Perhaps unrelated to the NPE, but it happened at the same time: All the "Help" links on the site now go to a Yahoo! Help page instead of the Flickr Help Forum. And the FAQ links have been removed from the footer.

They Had Months To Fix This Stuff

Several of these things, I pointed out in October 2013, more than five months ago, in an annotated screenshot. Since then, I've listed those problems and others in various Help Forum threads. I know staff read at least some of the complaints, because they responded to them.
Note: This page isn't to list "bugs" with the page, unintended quirks that staff will undoubtedly fix at some point. This page is meant to list the features/functions that Flickr once provided on the photopage but intentionally did not build into this NPE.

I also do not complain about the design here, since that is subjective. It doesn't matter whether I like the design, because someone else will not like it. This page is about the functionality of the NPE.
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