Yahoo! Photos Website

When Yahoo! Photos increased personal storage from 30MB to 1GB, it became increasingly difficult for users to organize and find their photos. Moreover, the overall user experience had grown outdated, containing a patchwork of older, less intuitive, web interaction models. Suzanne led the redesign with a team of 2 interaction designers, 2 visual designers, 1 user researcher, and 3 web developers.

Yahoo! Photos 2.0 (Old Design)

Yahoo! Photos was originally built on top of a service called Yahoo! Briefcase (some might say it was a super early variation of Dropbox). Yahoo! Briefcase had a strict hierarchical folder design which Photos inherited but simply called "albums." One major limitation was that photos couldn't appear in more than one album, so users would create copies of their photos which unnecessarily gobbled up storage. The original service was also print & photo gift supported which meant that ads often competed with user content.

"My Photos" View

"My Photos" View

Album View

Album View

Photo Detail View

Photo Detail View

Design Goals

Early on in the project, the cross-functional team agreed on a handful of design goals:

  • Let the photos shine (e.g., bigger, no ads next to photos)
  • Be flexible (e.g., let users put pics in multiple albums)
  • Be efficient (e.g., when possible, let users perform tasks inline)

User Research

Prior to the redesign, Photos already had quite a bit of research in its back pocket. We had done two intense ethnographic studies on photo management and sharing, and several usability studies when introducing new features. For the redesign, we tried a new approach at the time called the RITE method. With the RITE method, we were in the lab weekly with any new designs to test. When we discovered a problem, rather than testing it again & again with users, we corrected it immediately. It was a very efficient way to iterate on the product. Our lead web developer was in the lab with us and sometimes jumped into the code mid session.

Yahoo! Photos 3.0 (New Design)

With new Detail view users could:

  • View larger images
  • Add comments
  • Rate photos
  • Tag photos
  • Edit inline

With new Album design users could:

  • Search captions & photo tags
  • Create playlist-like albums
  • Create smart albums
  • Easily access friends’ pix
  • Drag & drop and inline edit

Metrics & Measurements

For the redesign many aspects of usage were tracked and used to refine the product such as:

  • Number & size of uploads
  • Frequency & type of sharing
  • Usage of rating, tags, & comments