Flickr New Look Debacle

May 27, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Fickr new look Debacle (Updated 19 June) Originally Published 27th May

FlickrFlickr Screenshot copy

A week ago today on 20th May Yahoo the owners of Flickr brought in a dramatic new look to the site. They also added to the help forum an Official Thread asking for feedback on the changes. They probably did not expect that after a week and at time of writing there would be 28,000 replies with at least 90% negative. Using a common commercial measure of 50 to 1 for the number of dissatisfied customers who actually complain the real number who are  unhappy is about 1.5 million. Bad news for Flickr.

Many users commented that in the future this update would be taught as a classic example of how not to bring in changes to a user based website.

There was no consultation that anybody noticed. There was no Beta Version for users to look at and check for bugs. Instead a massive number of changes were dumped on users without any prior warning. There were numerous bugs and problems which should have been checked beforehand. It is notable that Yahoo Mail had a similar major change a few years ago but they first brought out a Beta Version and there remains an option to revert to the classic version and a notice will occasionally pop up suggesting a reversion to classic if there are problems loading the page

The biggest problem users complain of is the imposition of the justified view with no option as existed before for the User to select thumbnail views for faster loading and quicker viewing. In justified view the pictures are crammed together with minimum space between them and there is a constant download of extra pictures. Many users with slower connections will see nothing at all save for the header and rotating dots designating uploading. Anybody with a capped monthly download limit who uses flickr a lot will soon find they exceed the limit and have to pay extra.

In many rural areas and parts of the world with slower download speeds the site will be unusable, fast track to corporate suicide?



I have brought together a number of workarounds discussed on the Flickr feedback thread by various users with some of my own additional research. See the forum thread here and the follow on forum thread which replaced it.

Note that both forum threads are now closed but should still be visible.



Go to sets, then click on one set. To view the old way first look at the web address. After the forward slash at the end type detail and refresh the browser to get the Set in the old way with white space and the details of views favs and comments on each image. Copy the address in the browser to share with friends and on websites and social media. See one of my sets  as an example

Unfortunately this method does not work with the page for all of the sets. However the same method can be used when browsing other peoples sets, just  type in detail at the end of the browser address.



The simplest way to view your own Photostream in the old Flickr way is to click edit in the menu on the bottom left of the header image which brings it up. For a link the extra text required after your username is ?details=1. An example for my Photostream is I would suggest that especially if you have a slow or capped connection rather than first going to the ultra slow justified Photostream Page and clicking edit you save the white space version as a favourite and go straight to it as your Flickr home page.

Depending on how you want viewers to see your Photostream when following a web link, there is another set of links which work whereby you can choose small, medium or large images bounded by white space.

After your Photostream address type in for example -   archives/date-posted/?view=md   The last two letters will be sm for small; and lg for large. See examples with my Photostream

Usefully with these links the Photostream can be explored by year with links at the top as well as by page number which has the usual links at the bottom. Even better when hunting for a particular picture clicking on the year also brings up the months at the top and clicking on a month brings up the days of the month.


There are no special links available to give a quick loading white space view of your contacts latest photos. However try going to or Both have a limit of around 50 photos so would not suit if you have a lot of contacts. Both show a stream of photos with only one appearing on the screen at a time unlike the glut on Flickr. Fluidr has the advantage that details are shown beside each image and if you link to your Flickr account you can make comments on contacts pictures within fluidr. On flickriver there are no details and you need to click on the image which opens the flickr photo page in a new tab in order to comment. UPDATE - thanks to Nancy Ellis - it is possible to see most of the metadata and to leave a comment while browsing on Flickriver. Hover your cursor over the photo and you'll see 4 icons appear for: info, see larger, comment, and fave.  Flickriver does have the advantage that if you want a white background click the white black icon next to tools in the top right.

I have not discovered a similar workaround for fluidr. (UPDATE As at 19th June the option of a white background is due out with their next update) See the following examples for my contacts on each site

Note that on these websites the use of the word friends in the web address means all contacts not contacts marked as friends.


This remains a big problem. There are no known workarounds. There is no way to quickly look through results such as in the old system of glancing down a page at thumbnails and then clicking to another page. UPDATE better to use see below-

I have been doing some research into which seems to solve many of the problems of slow loading and data use with flickr when searching for flickr pictures and looking at your favorites.

At the site the default background is black but using preferences “the link in red” you can choose backgrounds of black, dark grey or white. You can choose the number of photo results to be shown with 9 choices from 1 to 500. You can choose the size of the photos to be displayed. There are 5 choices of photo sizes to be displayed from 75px to 1024px. These preferences are saved for future visits if you login to flickr on the site and link to flickr

I did a test with a search choosing 50 photos per page at a size of 250 pixels. I checked data use against my local area connection showing amounts downloaded. On flickr I did the same search but stopped scrolling down at 50 pictures. The result was 1mb for Hivemind  and  8mb for flickr. A clear illustration of what is wrong.

The same can be done for your Photostream and Favorites.

It is notable that Hivemind seems to be run by one person on a voluntary basis, no ads!


                                                           TIPS ON USING THE NEW FLICKR LOOK


You now have a new header image which appears on your Photostream and Photo Pages. This starts as a default flickr one. To change the header to your own image hover the mouse above your joining year and click “edit cover photo”.  You have a choice from the last 200 uploaded. Only a part of the image will show so drag up or down for the best look.  Do you want to use an older image? Re-upload the image. Choose the image for the header and then delete. The header will remain.

Finding Stuff

The new system is somewhat opaque in navigation. A lot can be found by clicking the row of 3 dots on the bottom right of the Header.

In the Photostream clicking the dots will bring up the following –

Map, Galleries, Collections. Achives, Tags, Photos of. Profile, Popular, Recent Activity. Stats, Organize

On an individual Photo Page clicking the dots will bring up the following –

Rotate, Edit Photo in Aviary, Edit Title, Tags and Dates, Replace this photo, Delete this Photo, Add to a Set, Add to a Group, Add a tag, Add a note, Add a person, Edit location on your map, View all sizes, View slideshow, View Exif info.

Edwin Jones


Some more info is available about User Styles which work  to change the background on the Flickr photo page, your own or that of anybody else’s you view. There are options to change the photo page black background to white, light grey or dark grey. These links are from a Help Forum post from

"Dark grey:


Edit: added a light grey in case anyone wants it

and here's an even whiter one from Kediwah - Whitr++:  "

First if you do not have Stylish go to and install Sylish as an add-on for either Firefox or Chrome, It is then easy to go to the link and click "Install with Stylish". I downloaded all of them and using the Add On controls played around with enabling or disabling styles to see which look was best. The changes take effect immediately.

Edwin Jones


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