Recently someone asked me from where do I get inspiration for new design ideas. I was quite suprised to hear that question as it was from a person in authority. I had always made open statements that I get inspired by the good work i see around and try to incorporate them into my work. Some people called it copying, but i used to always correct them by saying the word is "inspiration".
My answer was that I read a lot about new designs, new ideas, designers, see their work and also use some fantastic applications like Flickr, Gmail and Google Calendar and get inspired by the way it is, their usability, or whatever good things they have and try to incorporate them to the work I do.
Even though I had heard about Flickr long back I was not quite interested in registering an account for myself coz i was under the impression that its just another photo management application. I was already using Yahoo photos for a long time, and I wondered why i should use another application from Yahoo. Another issue was that I had kinda stopped taking photographs coz of lack of inspiration. So if no photos, why the need of a management tool?
Thats when I got a chance to visit Kuwait and there I took a lot of pictures and there were many that i could show to the world. So when I got a Flickr invitation from Susheel and I decided to check it out. It was love at first sight for me as i could put in my fotos, play with the titles and description, add tags, the cool organizr and people could comment on my photos. After me putting in my photos and my friends commenting on them, the next step was to explore. I saw some fantastic photos, commented on them, learnt a lot, met a lot of people and ofcourse got inspired. It was coz of Flickr that my camera got a second lease of life. Now a days I'm trying out self portraites, which i couldnt have even imagined doing before Flickr.
Flickr is an application which not only made me inspired as a usability designer but also as a photographer. Just imagine what a computer application could do to me. I would like to build such applications which would not only be super user friendly but also inspires the users to try out new things in life.
Flickr made me better.
If given a chance how can I make Flickr better?
In the gamma version the "add user as contact" link just disappeared from the photos page and I couldnt find it anywhere except the profile page. Initially I thought of a possible navigation tweaking which Flickr did, which forced the user to view the profile and then add as contacts. But as and when i used it, I found that it was simply not user friendly. But once when i accidently mouse hovered the user's picture icon I saw a hidden menu and when I checked in that i could see the add as contact link. All these days it was there and I simply couldnt find it. After that day I always made sure to keep on mouse hovering on anything and everything on Flickr, just to make sure if any funcationality is hidden under them, which i can make use of. Some times i feel like i'm doing some treasure hunt.
What if Flickr could make me know that a user options menu will be shown if i mouse over the icon? What if it could tell me that if i click on the headers and description of a picture, i could edit it? It would have been more fun to use right?