Gallery search in the photostream view
Some comments about the latest update.
I’m happy to see the latest update to the photostream view includes a gallery search. I wrote of that earlier … and here it is. So a Thank You to SmugMug. I was also interested in what happens when I click on a “found” gallery: I get a photostream view just of that gallery. That’s new. And now I can do photo searches within in a gallery. That’s new too. And good.
A few things still need attention.
First, allow newest- and oldest-first ordering of gallery results. The order now is what the old search identified as being by Photorank. Sorting by oldest or newest is available on the old search page and is much more useful. It would be helpful if the gallery search results follow the ORDER BY field in the filter, just as photos do.
Second, make it possible to always see full gallery names in a search results listing. Whole titles sometimes help me identify exactly which galleries I’m looking at. The initial results view has truncated titles but when one expands the list via the VIEW ALL button, full titles appear. Both the grid and list views, depending on screen size, are quite nice. Unfortunately, if five or fewer galleries are found, there’s no VIEW ALL button and no opportunity to move to the expanded view. In that situation it would be nice just to start with the expanded view with space for full names – probably the grid view until down to really small screens. Alternately, there could be a VIEW DETAILS button on short lists.
Third, offer alternatives to the 1:1 aspect ratio on gallery thumbnails. I’d be happier with at 4:3 aspect ratio or perhaps the original-aspect-ratio gallery thumbnails, at least on the detail view. Seeing the full thumbnail is sometimes helpful in for identifying which gallery is being shown. Different folks think differently, so some sort of set-up option would be best here. Nice to have, not critical.
Fourth, keep tweaking the date filter. I very much like the recent improvements, notably starting the year list from the current year and making the year and day selection more autonomous. I’d still like to see a way to make the beginning and end selection separate, and to be able to edit the two separately. Given I don’t use the date filter that much, this one’s just a nice-to-have too, nothing critical.
One rather more speculative thought. The ability to do a search within a gallery illustrates that the photostream view grows in value when there are more ways to focus it to subsets of the entire collection. A natural follow-on to the gallery-only photostream view would be to find some way to show the stream of galleries and photos “inside” a folder, including levels of nesting. Is that in planning? Organizer or photo site views seem the natural path for identifying a folder to put at the top of such a limited photostream view. Extra buttons in the header would work, but a more straightforward approach might be change the action of the photostream/organizer/photo site menu entries in the header to transfer to the “same place” in the other views. That, after all, is how the old organizer button worked. If the latter happened, there would need to be some way to quickly get to the entire site “top” photostream and pboto site views though. (The SmugMug button can link to one of those, but let the user choose.) I don’t want to push on this one too hard. To be honest, I’m not sure I’d use it. But I’m looking for ways to make the photostream more useful. At the moment, except for gallery searches, which already work acceptably on the current search page, I'll admit I'm not finding the photostream particularly compelling. (Although others may: it certainly offers a nice intermediate step for the Flickr user upgrading to SmugMug, for example.)
I’ll not repeat thoughts from my earlier three postings (here and here and here) on the new header and photostream but I remain interested in items mentioned there: improvements to the search logic, the ability to see larger photo images in the photostream, a narrower header bar, etc.