Second Year University Project

Mock ups of app pages. From Left to Right: Welcome Page, Map with Image thumbnails (showing image clusters), Timeline feature

Flicker Through

Digital Product Design/ Concept Creation/ Wireframing/ Prototyping

Flicker Through is a design proposal that I pitched as part of a group during a live project for Flickr Foundation.

The brief we received, in a nutshell was to think of a new form of creative archive which would allow a user to interact with the over 50 billion images kept on Flickr. One of the considerations was to think about how this creative archive could last for, and be relevant in 100 years time.

Our proposal was to build an app which would place Flickr images onto a map in the exact location that the image was shot (by either using the geotagging information available or users manually adding images to the map if they recognise where it was shot). People can then open the app in a location and view the map and images allowing them to make comparisons between the images and what the place looks like today.

My role within the group included, concept creation (coming up with the timeline and map idea), involvement in UX/UI development and research and data collection and project organisation.

Mock ups of app pages. From Left to Right: Directions Page (showing a location on the map after searching a location), Un-located images page (Depicting images that are lacking geotagging information that can be added to the map), List view of images

The significance of the app would grow over time as more images are contributed to the app, via Flickr. 100 years from now a person could view an extensive catalogue of images with exact locations, allowing them to see the transformation of a place over 100 years.

Flickr also has a large catalogue of images that predate its creation through individual users and the Flickr Commons (official archiving bodies that store images on Flickr). Therefore there is the potential to extend the timeline backwards as well as forwards.

This then has the potential of being an extensive archive of photography, as well as an archive of places and Flickr images.

Diagram depicting how Flickr Through’s significance will grow overtime.

5 minute project summary video.

From early on in the project the idea of using a timeline was there. One of the initial ideas I developed was a timeline to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of Flickr (which will be in 2024). The timeline itself would highlight key technological advancements on the internet and a random image taken from Flickr from the same year would be showcased as a means of showing the breadth of Flickr’s large collection of images.

Video of the timeline prototype I made

Another idea I came up with was to use Flickr images as a means of curating world events. For this idea we used covid-19 as an example, We collected images and their descriptions uploaded by users, taken on days where significant events happened during covid-19 and pieced it together into an interactive timeline.

Screenshot taken in Freeform app of what a Covid-19 timeline could look like

We then stuck with the timeline idea and applied it to place. We chose place as a theme because everybody can relate to places in their own ways and in that sense it is a universal theme. This idea was pushed after I visited Elephant and Castle, an area in London that is undergoing a lot of change at the minute. I found pictures on Flickr of what Elephant and Castle used to look like while I was there and was able to see the comparison in real time. I then visited other parts of London such as Camden and made similar comparisons. This led to the idea of creating an app that would allow users to see images of the area they are in in real time to make these sorts of comparisons.

Comparisons between the same place at two different dates

It therefore made sense to use a map as an interface on which images could be pinned either through geotagging or by manually being added (because many of Flickr’s images were uploaded before geotagging became a standard feature on most smartphones and cameras.). This then raised questions around how the images and their locations would be mediated. For this we turned to the idea of community mediators. Websites like Wikipedia for the most part rely on their users to mediate the content that is being uploaded.

As myself, and some of my other group mates are interested in UX/UI, we wanted to spend time developing the wireframe of the app and to really consider the usability of the app to make it as user friendly as possible.

Photos of hand drawn, initial wireframes we created before creating a digital version using Adobe XD. (The wireframes were not drawn by me.)

The final outcome was to pitch this idea in a presentation. We didn’t get to the stage of fully prototyping or developing the application but I would like to expand on the idea of using map based interfaces and timelines in future projects. This project has also furthered my interest in archiving our physical landscape as a theme.