Last week we rolled out new design and new fuctionality on the 500px platfrom. We were working on this update since around October and at the end of February it was finally ready to be released. The rollout wasn't as smooth as we hoped for, but our dedicated team was pretty quick to respond to the issues. Kudos to our developers, designers and support specialists who worked 48 hours straight to fix things that were not perfect.
With this release we introduced a number of important things and removed some features that we viewed as unnecessary. This caused mixed reactions among our users — some loved the new look of the site, others preferred the old design better. Here, I will explain what we did and why.
One of the most visually impressive features we created is the Flow — an activity stream from the people you follow, created specially for you. Now photo discovery and sharing will be quite different. Now you can enjoy not only the new photos that your friends uploaded, but also discover the photos they liked, commented on and added to their favorites; as well as follow their stories, collection updates and other activity. Flow is like a personalized photo magazine that you can browse for hours. And now it is on the homepage of 500px. In the nearest future, we will be introducting filters to the Flow, so if you are interested in viewing just one type of your friends' activity — you will be able to view just that.
For the longest time we thought that everybody, not just professional photographers, should be a part of 500px. Maybe not all photos everybody takes are artistically impressive, but there are many photos in your collections that can tell an interesting stories — a friend's birthday, a trip to an exotic destination, something interesting spotted on the street one day, a concert you went to, etc. Everyone has something to tell with the photos they took. With 500px Stories, we made it easier than ever. Redesigned from the ground up, Stories focus on life events shared with large photos. Tell your story with one photo or a dozen — your choice. Add a location on a map where the photos were taken, describe each individual image, add technical information about the capture — and your post will be unique and captivating.
The layout is clean and simple. The unobtrusive and practically invisible design wraps the photos in a beautiful presentation, making every post a unique expression of your artstic vision. Personally, I wanted to have an expressive outlet like this for years, and it's finally there.
And finally — the Market
With the 500px Market you can now sell your photos as prints and digital downloads. It is the easiest way to earn money and transform your photos into the works of art on other people’s walls. We designed the Market from scratch, and will completely redefine the way people buy photo art online. No more endless frame options or hundreds of different papers — just the best quality canvas available in the US printed in two large, vivid sizes — 24x36 and 30x30 inches. Every printed photo will look great on such a beautiful canvas. Photographers will love the Market because each sale will bring real profit, and we are going to take care of billing, printing, shipping and quality control.
All high-resolution photos in the Market are securely stored and are only used to print the order or create HD downloads (1920x1080).
With the Market we are also introducing HD downloads as an option for buyers. Different from usual 20-25% revenue share the other photo platforms offer, 500px Market provides photographers with 70% revenue, taking care of orders, credit card processing and storage. All HD downloads are available in crystal clear full 1080p (1920x1080 or similar, depending on photo dimensions), and cost just $2.99.
There were many other changes, like the new Organizer — a combination of the uploader and photo manager. Uploader is now built with HTML5 and does not require Flash, the collections can be managed by just dragging and dropping and photo organization is now much easier. The photo page got simplified and cleaned up, the comments now have nested replies and votes and spam reporting mechanisms.
The idea behind the most recent changes is to make the 500px interface less intrusive and focus even more on the great photos our users upload and share. I think this was successfully achieved by the amazing 500px team.
And last but not the least, I would like to thanks all of our users — all those who wrote us emails and sent us tweets with comments and suggestions for improvements. Please remember that our goal is to provide the best user experience in everything we create, and we greatly appreciate your feedback, suggestions and criticism.