Hey kids, it's time for fun with images! Or more specifically, it's time to get our hands dirty with the latest internet craze you might not have heard of, photoblogging. Here's what I have in mind for Fotola.com, a division of CHXO.
The point of a photoblog isn't so much to share albums of photos, although one could do that. They're geared toward the cream of the crop, or at least, the best photo you can come up with on a daily basis.
Because of the explosion in digital camera ownership, most photoblogging will be done with photos. But feel free to substitute the word "image" in place of "photo" throughout this document. GIFs and PNGs will be supported as well as JPEGs.
A photoblog puts visual communication first, over literal. Literal communication is also important, however-- this is, after all, a fancy journal.
It's also a shared journal: the point of putting your best or most expressive photos online is to make them available to anyone, anywhere (or at least to a subset of anyone-anywhere), so there must me a share-factor as well.
Design should be simple and clean-- it's all about the photo, after all.
Color should be in the hands of the blogger where practical. So should arrangement of photos on the page.
Site is primarily organized by author, secondarily by date and popularity+randomness.
Design showcases photos, and then facilitates both criticism and sharing. Sharing is pull rather than push (although push via email and subscription/RSS is encouraged). The main focus of sharing, though, is selection of other people's photos to appear as "favorites" or "related" alongside your own.
Each member gets their own kingdom? Or should kingdoms be had at a premium?
Photos should be automatically resized and thumbnailed, but this process should be optionally delayed to allow for manual cropping and resizing.
Image files should be stored in a folder heirarchy by date. The advantage of storing by date (over author) is a predictable distribution of files and easy backup/archiving. It also allows us to add storage over time.
Basic v. Premium
This will be my first experiment with pay-to-play functionality, but given the nature of the site (upload big files to my server!) I'm driven by necessity. There's cool functionality that would be too risky to offer gratis if thousands of photobloggers suddenly started using it at the same time.
Premium members will get:
I'm thinking of a price-point in the $5 a year range. 400 premium members allows for a new server. The point isn't even to cover costs, just to subsidize the service and keep out bozos.
- Image processing functionality -- resize, rotate, crop, etc.
- More than one photo upload per day
- Custom appearance features (stylesheet access)
- Optional inclusion in stock catalog
- Full-resolution photo storage at $2/GB (one-time)
- Ability to sell high-resolution photos via the site
A second ui is suggested by premium membership: the site is a stock photo catalog whereby members can sell high-resolution images and image rights to purchasers. The catalog is organized by general category--- I believe there is an existing indistry-standard image-categorization system.
The original plan for fotola.com was put forth by Tod Dahlke, who wanted people to pay him money to go take a picture of something. This suggests a third ui once membership is significantly diverse, whereby the site becomes an assignment desk for freelance photographers.
By Chris Snyder on March 5, 2003 at 7:52pm