The run-away most requested feature we receive is Albums. But the way people phrase their requests shines a possible light on the true problem.
Fanfare for the Common Man
It’s worth mentioning that we see duplicate images uploaded almost every day to cubeupload. Non-members who are unwilling to Sign Up often seem to lose their original image links and resort to re-uploading images over and over.
It’s not such a bad thing really, they’re usually small images in size and presumably we won’t waste too much bandwidth serving an image to an audience of zero. It becomes interesting though, that even when provided with what we think is an easy option to avoid the issue, maybe out of an ignorance, or perhaps an unwillingness to simply Sign Up, people end up spending more of their own time, repeatedly, where they need not.
And this is all relevant… how?
While we work away, deciding what an Album really is and should be, the needs and behaviours of the average user, registered or not, become very valuable.
When folks request Albums, they seem to validate their request with their need for Organisation. It becomes clear that an Album is at the very least, two things to our users.
1. A way to share a group of images with others
but here’s a thought, would those people that reupload images over and over, really lose their links if they had shared them? Share a link on… Facebook, Twitter, in an Email or on a Forum, and undoubtably you can go to the relevant page and retrieve your link. Yes perhaps that might take more time than reuploading in some instances, but it reveals the second value of an album.
2. An Album is a way to organise your images for yourself only
Even going back to your Mother’s photo album of your embarrassing childhood, those Albums are at least two things, they’re there when your Mum wants to show your new girlfriend, to your horror, probably as much as they are there to be ordered and for her reference.
Time is Money
With computers and the internet, everything is accelerated. So those photo albums can be for sharing, and should be beautifully presented for any viewer, but with this speed comes an absolute resentment for anything slow.
So let us imagine we’re a registered cubeupload user, naturally we’ve sent many messages to the team saying how much we love the site and “oh what a wonderful joy it is to use a website created by such handsome young men”… erm, right so we’ve spent the last year or so uploading images here and there.
Now – quickly, we want to get that image you uploaded, oh when was it… around Christmas maybe? Oh yes it was, you took it on your new phone you got that year, it was the dog pissing on the christmas tree. Great photo it was too.
How do you find that image? Presuming we’re using a version of cubeupload with Albums, you might think it’s in that “Christmas 2011″ album, but wait, you didn’t even make that album, too much wine that night. Why oh why didn’t you make that album, you might wonder. Well because Time is Money and we’re just one of the sites on the web that take up your hours.
Truly, that Album should be there automatically, it should have grouped images taken around that time and dammit, it should have known it was shot on your phone.
Without going too far, I’ll leave it there, a little insight into what we’re thinking with it comes to our more-organised future.