Smugmug 3.0 ???

ShinryaShinrya Peter StewartHong KongPosts: 124Registered Users Major grins

It's been over four years now since "new" smugmug was released. In those four years, we've seen quite a lot of refinement and improvements to the functionality of the website builder. I was just thinking though...is it time for the next iteration?
I've been spending some time looking at Squarespace and Wix's building tools (who have improved HEAPS). Naturally there's pros and cons to each when comparing, but one thing really stands out, and that is excellent UI templates that just leave Smugmug's themes looking...well very 2013!

Is there anything in the pipeline to bring better and more modern templates to the Smugmug UI? I'm talking things like scrolling animation, scrolling fade in&out, clickable buttons or text inside images/video, curved edges.

Comments

  • Chrissiebeez_NLChrissiebeez_NL Major grins Posts: 1,294Registered Users Major grins

    I'm really curious about this myself. Long time Smugmug Pro user but i'm also feeling like things are getting a bit .. stale?

    Visit my website at christopherroos.smugmug.com
  • Djm3006Djm3006 Major grins Steamboat Springs, ColoradoPosts: 160Registered Users Major grins
  • leftquarkleftquark SmugMug Product Team Posts: 3,343Administrators, Vanilla Admin, SmugMug Product Team SmugMug Employee

    Calling it "SmugMug 3.0" is a bit extreme, since we believe we have a powerful system that will last many more years to come. With that said, we do plan, and have already started updating the design templates. Recently we launched the Button Content Block to add a few designs using buttons, and we released 2 new templates called "Deco" and "Vida". A number of other improvements, both around how you choose/customize design templates, and what they look like, are planned.

    SmugMug Director of Product / dGrin Afficionado
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • havanesehavanese Major grins TennesseePosts: 191Registered Users Major grins

    Came here tonight to post exactly what Peter did...I was hoping for something from SM ...but I will check out the new templates and buttons.

    I'm curious why SM doesn't promote new features like many sites, either by email, newsletter, or a special menu button.

    There is no doubt that SM is a powerful system...but in my humble opinion, it lacks the UI that end users would like to see. I have been using exposure.co for the past six months for my stories and using SM almost like a file backup system as it just doesn't draw interest from people who want to see my images...and their social features of emailing subscribers when I post a story and creating custom social media posts has made my simple amateur stories go from less than 50 visits to anywhere from 250 to 425 visits.

    I want to get back to using SM more than just a file storage client, but it's gotten boring for the front end. Maybe some coolness will come out later this year.

    Hate to sound negative as I'm not as upset with them as maybe I sound like...I'm been with then for years...it just seems nothing much has changed in the past view years when speaking about the UI or visitor experience.

  • leftquarkleftquark SmugMug Product Team Posts: 3,343Administrators, Vanilla Admin, SmugMug Product Team SmugMug Employee

    Hi Randy. We really appreciate that you’ve been a customer for all these years and as customers ourselves (I, for example, was a customer for 6 years before working here), we also want to see SmugMug grow and get better.

    We’re hard at work on a number of things, many of which are around making it easier to use SmugMug or giving some much love to important areas. The shopping cart, for example, has seen a major overhaul in the last few months, becoming mobile friendly and helping all of you that want to sell more photos, sell more. Our iOS and Android apps are getting a lot of attention as more and more of you move to using your phones and tablets to take and share your photos. We’ll also be communicating more with all of you in the future, as some of our attention has been devoted to doing the little things you mentioned: updating the header so we can notify you of changes and integrating some tools to better communicate with you.

    There’s still a lot we can do better and we have a great plan moving forward. So stay tuned and I think you’ll enjoy what you see!

    SmugMug Director of Product / dGrin Afficionado
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • havanesehavanese Major grins TennesseePosts: 191Registered Users Major grins

    The ability to let the customers know of new features or bug fixes has always been an issue for me and at least I know to come to dgrin to find some answers but for the average customers I doubt they even know about dgrin and even if they do when they see that long lists of different forums they would give up before they even started.

    I appreciate all that SM staff do and it's been a rock solid dependable experience for me all these years, but it does feel, even if it's not true, that SM needs to catch up with better social features, templates, parallax features, integrated email subscriptions, better posting editor (if you consider yourself a replacement for simple website creation), etc...

    I will definately be looking for the header update feature as that's encouraging that I will be able to see what is new in an easy one click...

  • PB775APB775A Beginner grinner Posts: 16Registered Users Big grins

    indeed I'm very happy with SmugMug and long time customer myself, but to present our pictures to friends and family who use mobile devices more and more as their principal working tool,
    I would really like to something like https://myalbum.com/premium it presents the pictures in a very nice way and people say waauw that's nice this pictures on your album.
    I would like to see some more things like that in the designs that come. Any one else?

  • David_S85David_S85 Spotter of Dgrin Spam and Oddities ChicagolandPosts: 12,082Administrators moderator
    edited September 2, 2018

    ^ Hey Smugmug guys, please check out the above link and click on the "Stream" gallery type and look at the preview of the video in the gallery. The pre-play display is bound to get clicks if we had that here. Also like the gradual zoom in the gallery cover images.

    My Smugmug
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
  • PB775APB775A Beginner grinner Posts: 16Registered Users Big grins

    it would be nice to have e Ken Burns effect on individual photos without a slideshow, something that we see a lot in modern websites,
    maybe adding a content block where we can adjust the "effect" for a single picture for example, also text that animates in the frame once it show up like text coming from left or right or
    fades in or swings in lots of things could be done to make the display of images a better experience for the user. I do know that on huge galleries this is not recommended but on galleries
    with say less than x pictures it would be nice to have that.

  • ziggy53ziggy53 Still learnin'still lovin Posts: 20,385Super Moderators moderator
    edited September 3, 2018

    For those requesting an animated zooming image, would this code work for you?:
    (Thanks to Tomasz Nowicki - Example on his "About" page.)

    Code and Explanation/Installation page.

    Tomasz' SmugMug Site

    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
  • David_S85David_S85 Spotter of Dgrin Spam and Oddities ChicagolandPosts: 12,082Administrators moderator
    edited September 3, 2018

    Can that Ken Burns effect code work somehow on the top gallery cover image?

    My Smugmug
    "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take" - Wayne Gretzky
  • PB775APB775A Beginner grinner Posts: 16Registered Users Big grins

    very nice but I think they should implement it as a image content block or gallery content block where you can set the effects for the images that are displayed,
    it would be nice on a journal type content block that when your image comes onto the screen the effect is activated, this combined with for example a text block
    that appears above the image in some way would be a great plus.

  • rjwilnerrjwilner USAPosts: 22Registered Users Big grins

    From what I've experienced with SM in the short time I've been on the platform, the mobile experience of an SM based site needs the most work. While I understand most of the UI comments above, when I look at my site on an iPhone 6+ via Safari, I must say I'm disappointed. It's just a little too clunky for this day & age. It's not bad, and I've seen a whole lot worse. But it is somewhat 'clunky'. The worst example being that, if I write a lengthy caption for an image in a 'Journal' style gallery, there's simply no way I can find to view the entire caption on the phone. It seems there's only sufficient space available to display a couple lines of what might take 10-15 lines to display the complete caption. If I've defined any other gallery style, it's still a bit clunky to have to tap the image to bring up the caption, and then tap the caption to display it in it's entirety. But at least it can be accomplished.

    But that's just an example of some of the clunkiness I've seen in the mobile environment. The real point is that any web dev teams not assigning a significant portion of their development resources to the mobile environment in this day & age is a team destined to get left in the dust. I don't at all say that to be snarky or to rant at SM staff. And I don't believe it's a matter of opinion. It just 'is what it is'. The % of site/page views initiated via one mobile device or another is simply on a major uptrend and isn't likely to end any time soon. And this goes for content creation on the part of site owners as well as the viewing experience for visitors.

    Now, if I were to go off on a snarky rant (you had to know this was coming :) ), it would be on black backgrounds. Please someone stop the world and let us off the black background merry-go-round.....P-L-E-A-S-E-! It's just SO 2008. At least give those of us that don't like it the ability in our profile (or wherever) to switch to a conventional light background dark text option.</semiTongueInCheekMode Off>

  • leftquarkleftquark SmugMug Product Team Posts: 3,343Administrators, Vanilla Admin, SmugMug Product Team SmugMug Employee

    We're in agreement that it's time to start updating the designs (and continue updating them more frequently). We also have plans to make it easier to get started with setting up a new design, as that needs to be much easier to do.

    I didn't see too much on myalbum.com that isn't already in SM (for example, the header + collage images of the "Stream" style does currently exist). We can probably do better on mobile with how galleries display photos and also have plans to freshen up galleries styles in the future.

    re @rjwilner and the comment on black backgrounds: You have full control over the theme of your site and can change the black background at any time. We've done a lot of research and testing though, and in general photos look much better on a dark background. I say "in general" though, because there's often times when a light background is better for the mood of the gallery. That's why we offer themes so you can choose what's best for your set of photos!

    SmugMug Director of Product / dGrin Afficionado
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • havanesehavanese Major grins TennesseePosts: 191Registered Users Major grins

    This post started back in late Oct 2017 and I'll be honest the only thing I can think of that is new since then is the update to the shopping cart and the update for search in the mobile app...now that's not to say that there weren't other things that were updated, but the fact that I can only think of two things that were new in the past 12 months and neither are what you would call sexy updates but functional updates which are needed but not eye-catching is what I think some of us are missing from SM. I mentioned before there needs to be a better way to communicate to the user and I think the login in and see a header of "New features" is a way everyone would see...it was mentioned something like this was coming but I still don't see anything...and seriously hearing that I can change the background in my account is news to me...now I only have to find were to do it at...

  • PB775APB775A Beginner grinner Posts: 16Registered Users Big grins

    Well dear SmugMug heros I think it's great to know that you are still working on the designs and I hope make some fancy eye candy stuff to go with it, for example, imagine the photo comes up the screen and then a text block appears over it (fades in or something) this way we could very much tell some nice things about a picture, but I am experimenting with the page tool now and I can indeed find lots of nice stuff but I do have to add the items manually.
    Imagine that we could add a link to a text block to some images (call them imageblock or something) that would be nice and then find some ways to show the text over the image en format it some way.
    I am already some time with smug mug and still very very happy with it. Ok, it can always add some tit and tat but ok better take time and do it right.
    By the way, I changed my theme recently (the design) and just love it. So you see you're doing some great job all of you!

  • PB775APB775A Beginner grinner Posts: 16Registered Users Big grins

    @rjwilner indeed the mobile part is the part that needs more attention because nowadays how many times does one show off the pictures taken when with family or friends and this
    happens mostly on a mobile screen. mixing text and images in a nice way would be nice. However I must say experiment with some of the designs, it does make a lot of difference when switching from one
    to another, I just changed mine and I must say looks already much better on my mobile screen now.

  • rjwilnerrjwilner USAPosts: 22Registered Users Big grins

    @leftquark said:
    re @rjwilner and the comment on black backgrounds: You have full control over the theme of your site and can change the black background at any time. We've done a lot of research and testing though, and in general photos look much better on a dark background. I say "in general" though, because there's often times when a light background is better for the mood of the gallery. That's why we offer themes so you can choose what's best for your set of photos!

    On our own sites, yes. The choice of display colors is just fine when viewed via a desktop/mobile browser. In the SM mobile app...unless I'm missing something, there seems to be no means of changing bg colors. Same in 'Organizer'.

    But that really wasn't my point. I was referring to much of the SM specific world...like these forums. And largely that's being nitpicky and was meant half in jest...though I really would like to have the option even here and in Organizer.

    The trouble with 'research' is that you can find studies to support just about any point of view you wish. In a forum I haunted many moons ago, a guy found a study suggesting the optimal frame/mat color for an image was one of the significant colors in the image. And he started framing his posts in that fashion. It was the butt ugliest thing I've ever seen done to images. But there was a scientific study available online that 'proved' the idea. My frame of reference comes from having been a bit of a gallery honk for a number of years.....real brick & mortar galleries showing work of known artists. And I never.....not once....ever saw a show in any of those galleries where the mat around the show's images wasn't white. Admittedly, that's some yr ago, but I tend to believe this whole black bg thing is an internet creation.

    In the end, I suspect such things are a matter of personal preference. There may be people who find the mat/frame color matching a significant color in the image attractive. And I still see an occasional photog ending posts in various forums and/or social media with a 'Best Viewed on Black' tag line, but even those seem to be getting fewer and fewer. To my eye, a black frame makes images dark and confined....almost 'squished'.

  • rjwilnerrjwilner USAPosts: 22Registered Users Big grins

    @PB775A said:
    @rjwilner indeed the mobile part is the part that needs more attention because nowadays how many times does one show off the pictures taken when with family or friends and this
    happens mostly on a mobile screen. mixing text and images in a nice way would be nice. However I must say experiment with some of the designs, it does make a lot of difference when switching from one
    to another, I just changed mine and I must say looks already much better on my mobile screen now.

    Mind sharing the name of the one you found that you like.

  • PB775APB775A Beginner grinner Posts: 16Registered Users Big grins

    oh yes of course, sorry :-) it's Sierra, gives a nice view on my iPhone 6Splus combined with galleries in collage landscape mode

  • jcharmonjcharmon Boulder, ColoradoPosts: 20Registered Users Big grins

    Hmm. See https://www.dpreview.com/news/0139730180/flickr-announces-major-update-to-galleries-section
    Looks like some development effort is being directed to the Flickr side of the house... Perhaps not so much on the SM side? Or is this a sign of possible things to come on SM?

  • ShinryaShinrya Peter Stewart Hong KongPosts: 124Registered Users Major grins

    Pretty sure they're completely separate teams, as I would assume the people that worked at Flickr before the takeover are the same people working there now.

    On a side note, I've been a Flickr user for 10 years and only now clicked on the Galleries tab. Hopefully this is the start of what will be a complete makeover for the platform.

  • leftquarkleftquark SmugMug Product Team Posts: 3,343Administrators, Vanilla Admin, SmugMug Product Team SmugMug Employee

    Shinrya is correct -- as Don (SmugMug's CEO) mentioned during the acquisition, Flickr will remain Flickr and SmugMug will remain SmugMug. We have 2 separate teams working on the various products and almost all of the Flickr team joined the SmugMug family. This particular feature upgrade was in the works even before the acquisition. The Flickr team is primarily focused on moving the platform off of Yahoo services and onto SmugMug's but we also want to make sure to improve Flickr as much as we can during that time. A few folks from SmugMug may also assist in the migration but ....

    The SM.com team has been hard at work on a number of projects for SmugMug. Our recent efforts have centered around making it easier for new customers to get started with SmugMug, major improvements to our iOS and Android apps, and a number of projects aimed at helping you and your visitors purchase physical copies of your memories (particularly a new shopping cart, as well as some things coming soon that we're very excited to be working on for you).

    SmugMug Director of Product / dGrin Afficionado
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • Chrissiebeez_NLChrissiebeez_NL Major grins Posts: 1,294Registered Users Major grins

    wow, okay.. it's now almost exactly one year after posting my previous post and Smugmug has offered nothing new in terms of UI, templates or other functionality aimed at presentation/site creation.. this is quite unacceptable and I'm seriously starting to doubt the determination of Smugmug on these aspects. Can someone confirm more modern presentation functionality and/or templates are coming available? Otherwise I will be looking at alternatives, however much it pains me (loooong time smugmug customer)

    Visit my website at christopherroos.smugmug.com
  • havanesehavanese Major grins TennesseePosts: 191Registered Users Major grins

    This Dec will be the second year that I have been waiting for major improvements to their templates and UI...I changed my theme about a month ago and it took a SM engineer to write CSS code to make it look right as a mobile site..and I didn't have anything changed to it ... it was a stock theme...I have since changed it again as it just didn't look right as a mobile theme.

    I have been with SM for 10 years but honestly, I don't direct people to the site much for my images, I either post directly to my website, Instagram or make stories on Exposure.co ... so what am I paying for? a pretty backup solution....I just hate to leave since I have been here so long.

    It is annoying to see SM films..and I think, man, that probably could have paid someone to come in and write some new themes or work on the theme mobile code.

  • PB775APB775A Beginner grinner Posts: 16Registered Users Big grins
    edited October 7, 2018

    Well for me the main and most important reason for smug mug still is the secure storage of photos and the ability to share them through password protected galleries,
    I can customise quite a lot with my pro account but of course after some time the designs need some improvement indeed, we should have something that interacts more with the user than just
    scroll through galleries, like I said, custom text blocks that appear when you scroll a picture into view, methods of viewing a Gallery in a different way than landscape or portrait (my favourites)
    for example they could make a gallery that is constructed of "blocks" now a gallery is one big block in a smug mug style (smug mug, landscape, portrait, journal).... but the problem is this is for the entire
    gallery. If I would have something to suggest it would be to create something like a "FlexGallery" and in that gallery you could choose layout blocks that compose the gallery, and these layout blocks could repeat
    themselves automagically through the gallery. For example we could have a Gallery composed of layout blocks with 3 or more or less images together, followed by a map block or by a nice text block, and then followed again by a block with for example 20 square images or 10 wide images or something. It could be so super flexibel ! So I hope the Heros and the developers are watching and reading this as I believe this would really improve the system.
    O and while at it include some menu blocks also so that even between some photo series we could include menus to make it possible to jump to other blocks :-)

    just thinking, and I know I am a long time customer I believe with smug mug, and I do not think there is a worthy alternative even at this time that delivers so much for the same price, but there is ALWAYS room for improvement.

    kind regards,
    Philippe
    Ypres, Belgium

    also I just took a look at exposure.co and looks good BUT for the best experience it is 59$ A MONTH! so let's compare apples to apples :-)
    this amount I am not ready to pay as a amateur photographer, so SmugMug is still the best around in my opinion.

  • havanesehavanese Major grins TennesseePosts: 191Registered Users Major grins
    edited October 7, 2018

    @PB775A said:

    took a look at exposure.co and looks good BUT for the best experience it is 59$ A MONTH! so let's compare apples to apples :-)

    this amount I am not ready to pay as a amateur photographer, so SmugMug is still the best around in my opinion.

    Exposure is $99.00 per year for the Pro version which is awesome for telling stories..works like Adobe Spark only much more features and easier to create.

    It's not a replacement for SM as I don't use their galleries ... only their stories..and I get great SEO with them.

  • leftquarkleftquark SmugMug Product Team Posts: 3,343Administrators, Vanilla Admin, SmugMug Product Team SmugMug Employee

    We have an update coming in the next few weeks that simplified picking a new design and getting it started with how you want it to look. We’re going to launch it first to customers signing up for a new trial, let them give us some feedback and then we’ll update it and bring it to existing customers picking a new design. Once it’s live for the new customers you can create a new free trial if you want to play with it at all, to see what it might be like when we bring it to all of you.

    New templates are also in the works.

    SmugMug Director of Product / dGrin Afficionado
    aaron AT aaronmphotography DOT com
    Website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com
    My SmugMug CSS Customizations website: http://www.aaronmphotography.com/Customizations
  • havanesehavanese Major grins TennesseePosts: 191Registered Users Major grins

    @leftquark said:
    New templates are also in the works.

    It's that last sentence that makes us (some of us) long time users annoyed...we have been waiting a very long time for better themes...why wasn't that done first and done months ago? I understand that the simplified design aspects might bring in new customers as will the better app features and work done on the selling of prints..but come on... we just want a more modern look and feel to SM with building blocks that we can use like in may other web-centric apps.

  • Chrissiebeez_NLChrissiebeez_NL Major grins Posts: 1,294Registered Users Major grins

    @PB775A said:
    Well for me the main and most important reason for smug mug still is the secure storage of photos and the ability to share them through password protected galleries,
    I can customise quite a lot with my pro account but of course after some time the designs need some improvement indeed, we should have something that interacts more with the user than just
    scroll through galleries, like I said, custom text blocks that appear when you scroll a picture into view, methods of viewing a Gallery in a different way than landscape or portrait (my favourites)
    for example they could make a gallery that is constructed of "blocks" now a gallery is one big block in a smug mug style (smug mug, landscape, portrait, journal).... but the problem is this is for the entire
    gallery. If I would have something to suggest it would be to create something like a "FlexGallery" and in that gallery you could choose layout blocks that compose the gallery, and these layout blocks could repeat
    themselves automagically through the gallery. For example we could have a Gallery composed of layout blocks with 3 or more or less images together, followed by a map block or by a nice text block, and then followed again by a block with for example 20 square images or 10 wide images or something. It could be so super flexibel ! So I hope the Heros and the developers are watching and reading this as I believe this would really improve the system.
    O and while at it include some menu blocks also so that even between some photo series we could include menus to make it possible to jump to other blocks :-)

    just thinking, and I know I am a long time customer I believe with smug mug, and I do not think there is a worthy alternative even at this time that delivers so much for the same price, but there is ALWAYS room for improvement.

    kind regards,
    Philippe
    Ypres, Belgium

    also I just took a look at exposure.co and looks good BUT for the best experience it is 59$ A MONTH! so let's compare apples to apples :-)
    this amount I am not ready to pay as a amateur photographer, so SmugMug is still the best around in my opinion.

    I fully agree with Phillipe, this would be great!

    Visit my website at christopherroos.smugmug.com
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