April 25, 2008 – Better, Embeddable, Video
When we released SmugMungous video several months ago, our customers were ecstatic. Finally, their photos AND videos looked better on SmugMug.
As the dust settled, however, we saw there was still room for improvement. For starters, videos can really light up a forum post or blog and our Quicktime video solution didn’t allow embedding. So, we decided to go with something a bit… flashier…
The move to Flash-based video is a win on many levels:
- We built our video player with an interface that’s easier to use and easier on the eyes.
- You’ll find a jaw-dropping full screen option. Keep in mind, the laws of the universe still apply: the higher the quality of your video is, the better it’ll look filling your whole screen.
- Your videos are now embeddable outside of SmugMug, in forums, blogs, or any web page you’d like. Choose either the 425 (web/small) version or 640 (DVD/large) version.
We had to make some tough decisions along the way, though:
- You need the latest flash player version to watch videos. Updating is easy and free, though, and you can do it here. If you are too out-of-date, you’ll see a friendly prompt when you try to play a video.
- Flash has significant performance issues on Mac-based browsers when playing high definition h.264 video. We love Macs, and wish it wasn’t so. If you’re on a Mac, you’ll see the flash player for the smaller video sizes when they are embedded on other web pages. However, to keep the herky jerky at bay and to maintain a consistent viewing experience, Mac users will see Quicktime for all video sizes played in your SmugMug galleries.
You can read our CEO’s thoughts on SmugMug’s video offering on his blog.
We want to keep our customers happy AND their fans happy. So, we fixed up our share page. Now just two clicks stand between you and getting a meaningful link to thrill your fans.
- Click the Share button on your gallery pages. Or click the Share button you see at the end of a video played using Flash.
- Click a link. It’ll be copied automagically and ready to paste into an email, forum post, blog, or instant message.
New Goodies for Power and Standard Accounts
- Our custom hostname and right-click protection features are now built into Power accounts as well as Professional accounts.
- All SmugMuggers (Professional, Power, and Standard) can now force a viewing style for each gallery in their Customize Gallery settings.
Custom Categories and Subcategories
- The custom category and custom subcategory pages (accessible from the Customize tab of the Control Panel) were cluttered and none-too-attractive. We shined them up.
- The gallery creation page was confusing with regard to creating your own categories and subcategories. We tweaked it a bit to make this feature easier to understand.
- We also updated the help pages accordingly
Help Page Overhaul
Some customers thought our help pages were hard to read. They were black, with small font (kinda like this blog, eh?), and we’re sorry we left them that way for so long. The good news is, you let us know and we stepped up and made some changes. They are now white and wider, with larger font to boot. Lots of pages were also rewritten for clarity and updated for new features.
- Fixed a bug where if you switched viewing styles from SmugMug to Critique, you weren’t being directed to the correct image.
- Fixed a bug with slideshow and stats reporting.
- Fixed an IE7 error in SmugMug style, at certain resolutions and with certain image sizes, the browser was hanging.
- Fixed a pagination error in Journal style.