There have been many small tweaks to the PixyBlog system over the past month, nothing too significant, but lots of smaller changes. I'll just run-through a few of them in summary here.
As the number of photos on PixyBlog grows, search plays an increasingly important role. We now have some photoblogs with close to 1000 images. In these cases clicking through page after page of thumbnails to find an image can be rather tedious, and this is where search comes into it's own.
Currently on PixyBlog we have two types of search; Keywords and Tags. I won't go into the specifics of each now as they've been covered before on our news blog, and more recently Jacques Bron has written an excellent article about optimizing your photos for search on PixyBlog - well worth a read. However, I would like to inform you of a couple of changes; the keyword search now searches over the Tags and Gallery Names, but no longer the Users Comments. You can also use quotes "" to provide more specific results when searching with more-than-one word.
From an ongoing discussion in our Report a Bug forum it became evident that there were some problems with our Bulk Uploader. We've been working on this all week and have now got a new & improved version of the uploader online which should address those reported problems.
Some of you may have noticed a few minor tweaks to the design of pixyblog.com front page. These are designed to give easier access to more areas of the site.
Finally, there have been some requests on a way to display an alternate version of an image on a photoblog. We've come-up with a solution which both Sven and Jacques have been experimenting with, and we've written a short wiki article about it as well. It looks like a great feature, and we're now working on a way to make this standard across all photoblogs; watch this space.
Over the weekend we updated the pixyblog.com site with a new design and added a number of additional features which we hope will better serve our community of photographers. So what's new at PixyBlog?
The design of our main site, www.pixyblog.com, has been updated to a larger format (greater width and height) and can therefore include more content. We've increased the number of latest photos visible on our front page, changed the way in which the latest comments are displayed and added a preview of the new Daily Shot blog (see below for more information). We will continue to tweak the design and we're working on fixing the last of the style issues for some web-browsers.
A popular page with visitors and our photographers alike; everyone wants to know where they stand in the rankings. We've given more exposure to the "top" photoblog, showcasing their latest post and a short description. The way the top photoblogs are calculated hasn't changed, but we are working on a new algorithm which is being tested on our new Daily Shot blog at the moment.
More emphasis has now been placed on the "profile" section of the pixyblog.com site. We now show not only the sites description and latest photos, but also the latest comments and the photographers favourite bookmarks.
All new photoblogs at PixyBlog now include a button at the bottom of the page linking to their profile at PixyBlog. For those existing users who have customized their photoblog and who wish to have a link to their profile, the following code can simply be cut-and-pasted into the _footer template:
<a href="$url.absoluteSite/profile/$model.weblog.handle" title="$model.weblog.name $text.get("weblogMain.profile")"><img src="$url.absoluteSite/images/my_pixyblog.gif" border="0" alt="$model.weblog.name $text.get("weblogMain.profile")"/></a>
This will display the following button:
We have launched a new aggregated photoblog which is designed to showcase the daily best of PixyBlog. At the end of each day our system will calculate the days best photo. The calculation takes a number of statistics into account when making it's decision, and we hope that over time we can refine these so that we get an unbiased look at what really is "hot" at PixyBlog.
It's early days for our Daily Shot blog right now, but as each day ends we will be gradually building a site of truly exceptional photos; the best of PixyBlog.
We hope that the algorithms we're using (and continually developing) on the Daily Shot site will be the basis for our other blog & photo rankings elsewhere on PixyBlog, so this will be an interesting area to keep watch.
When PixyBlog was launched we opted to use Google Groups for our community discussion. It was a simple and quick way to get started, but we soon realised that it wasn't the best option for us; it cannot be integrated well into our other sites and for a while now we've been wanting to move to our own discussion forum.
We've since been working on migrating all existing discussions on the Google Group site to our new forum and it's now up-and-running at discuss.pixyblog.com... check-out our announcement. PixyBlog users will be able to login and post/reply to questions with their existing login, and we're now working on letting non-PixyBlogger's contribute to our forum as well. So if anyone has a comment, suggestion, feedback or question, you can now post it here.
The PixyBlog Wiki has been updated to fit into the new design and structure. We have further plans for this site which we will be talking about soon.
In case some of you hadn't noticed we now offer unlimited storage for all photoblogs. This has been made possible by the move to Amazon's web service, which gives us the ability to significantly increase our storage. We have passed-on this advantage to our customers and we now offer unlimited storage on all our plans, even the entry level.
For our new design we wanted to use photos from our community of photographers to help promote our service (Is there a better way to promote yourself then through your customers?). So without exception every single photographer we asked was more than happy to help, and you can see their excellent work throughout the new pixyblog.com site. So, we would just like to quickly thank each one here:
We're really happy with the new design and how things are working-out here at Pixy. Since our release just over three months ago we've been steadily growing in members, and we hope that the new features will be valuable additions to our service.
Our development schedule is packed with new and improved features, so expect some more news soon.
- PixyBlog Team