By now some of you will be using the new Flickr layout for photos with the Google+ style side panel to the right. The new Flickr Photo page beta has something very broken about it. You may not immediately notice this and if you never embed Flickr images, you may never have seen it, but here’s what’s Yahoo just broke.
Flickr images like those in their creative commons area, were previously embedded into other websites with attribution which included an alt tag which highlighted the author and a link wrapped around the image. This enabled readers to simply click the image and be taken to the original image on Flickr.
Apparently that wasn’t enough credit for Flickr and they are now watermarking embedded images with a big Flickr logo as seen in the screenshot below. Not cool Flickr, especially not providing an option to remove either your watermark or the image filename. The reality is that most images uploaded to Flickr retain the original file name that comes straight off the camera, so now images appear with the author name and the IMGP4466.jpg as shown below. This is just plain ugly and Flickr really need to revert back to the original method of embedding rather than the new, forced iFrame model.
If they persist with this new branding, then users will go elsewhere to host and share their images, not sure if Yahoo have noticed, but there’s plenty of alternatives. Let’s not mince words.. using the embed method of adding photos is the correct and proper way to share images for the copyright conscious. I fear the broken Flickr embed options will now leave users simply saving images out and inserting manually, completely removing the references to the original authors.
It looks like Flickr have also decided that we can no longer embed a single image, instead embeds now have left and right arrows. These don’t display when the user rolls over the image, instead are permanently overlayed. One of the other consequences of moving to iFrames instead of <a><img></img></a> is that text can no longer be wrapped around the image. As I said above, Flickr has completely broken this feature and engineers should be locked in a room until it’s fixed.
If we forget about the invasiveness of the arrows for a second and consider Flickr’s motivation for adding them. User’s will naturally click things and arrows area well established action item on the web, so what happens when the user clicks them? Flickr gets another image view. That’s great for Flickr, but while their forced branding smacks users in the face, they’ll also be moving through images that bear no relation to the content it was embedded in.