New features — February 15, 2006

Wow! We’re used to releasing features that evoke an emotional response — we thrive on it. But even we were overwhelmed with the response to ‘lightBox’, our new popup replacement for viewing larger photos.

Most of you loved it and told us so in no uncertain terms. But quite a few of you hated it — and also told us so in no uncertain terms. It’s clear we took two steps forward and one step back. (Depending on your camp, I suppose it may have felt like one step forward and two steps back). What do to? Fix it, of course!

lightBox changes/fixes/improvements:

  • lightBox now loads photos progressively so you can see stuff before it’s loaded (does NOT work if you have image protection enabled — otherwise your images wouldn’t be protected)
  • got rid of the cogs. Sorry, don’t know what we were thinking — everyone hates the hourglass cursors and yet we created our own when we should have just shown the image. Dumb us!
  • got rid of the long-pregnant-pause-on-black-screen between photos (the first image on a *protected* gallery will still have a pregnant pause — otherwise your images wouldn’t be protected)
  • we now show the caption of the photo you’re viewing
  • no more lightBox popup to view movies.
  • no more screen resizing
  • no more double-scroll bars
  • Originals can now be displayed on the /Original URL page in addition to lightBox
  • added customization code to disable lightBox for those who object
  • tightened up where and when lightBox is launched. Only replaces old popup links now.

Definitely post on our support forum if there are still changes you’d like to see. We’re always interested in making every feature at SmugMug better, including lightBox.

We added a new Style, ‘Critique’:

  • Lets your viewers see one photo at a time, read reviews, and add their own.
  • Extra space for a large Caption to describe your shooting settings, what you were trying to achieve, etc.
  • All EXIF data displayed.
  • New ‘smugloupe’ lets you zoom-in on details for a better view. Disabling Larges and Originals disables the smugloupe
  • previous / next arrows display preview thumbnails of what the next / last images were.

Some New Themes (these were released on Monday, actually):

  • Valentine’s Day
  • Christmas 2

And other fixes and enhancements:

  • adding to cart with custom domains should now work better
  • Using country-specific TLDs should properly set cookies now
  • adding movies to the cart results in error
  • ‘arrange mode’ displays HTML captions properly now
  • ‘drag & drop arrange tool’ displays HTML captions properly now
  • helpies have been improved
  • ‘single image view’ previous / next links show preview thumbs
  • the login verification page when going to your control panel and/or account settings has been improved to properly redirect you
  • arranging sharegroups had some bugs fixed
  • the ‘order complete’ page has been enhanced to be more clear about the fact that your order has really been completed.
  • new help section on cookies
  • new help section on smugloupe
  • new customization option to allow you to stop the filmstrip from auto-scrolling
  • enhanced ‘add to cart’ functionality (faster, more robust)

Whew. I think that’s it, but there may be a few others that I didn’t mention. I’ll update if I think of any more biggies.

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