Posts Tagged "monkey-album"

I’ve finally gotten around to improving the mobile browsing experience for my photos. There are still a few nits I might try to improve (I hide EXIF information on screens smaller than 1024 pixels in width, collection previews don’t scale on the smallest screen sizes, etc), but it should be a much better experience than before. This should also hopefully help those of you who don’t have very wide screens.

Let me know if you spot any problems or have suggestions for improvement.

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Photo Album Software Update

January 21, 2013

I’ve rolled out some improvements to the software powering my photos website. Visitors can now navigate through all of my favorite photos without having to use the back button in the browser (favorites are essentially their own album now). I’ve been wanting to fix this problem for some time, and it feels good to finally get it resolved!

I also stamped out a few bugs that crept in when I last updated the site. If you spot any problems with the photos site, or have suggestions for improvement, I’m all ears!

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I have just posted new photos from Dismal Swamp State Park. This album also introduces my new photos-only sub-domain: photos.borngeek.com. The site utilizes a brand new design, larger album previews, and, beginning with this photo album, larger photos. There are a still a few items I have not yet implemented:

  1. I want a better way to browse through favorite images Fixed!
  2. Images should ideally not wrap off of the page (i.e. they should fit the viewport) This has been fixed, at least in the horizontal case
  3. There should be some sort of “About” page since the site now stands alone Fixed!

None of these features seemed important enough to hold back opening it up to visitors, so that’s why I’m unveiling it today. I will be going back through my posts here and updating all the various links to point to the new URL (old URLs should hopefully redirect correctly). If you spot any bugs with the new site, please let me know. I tested with the latest versions of Firefox and Chrome, as well as Internet Explorer 8. I’d also love to hear your comments on the new site.

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At some point last year, I noticed that the Google snippets for search results pointing to my photo section at this site were incorrect. Instead of listing helpful content, they instead showed page navigation information. Here’s an example:

Monkey Album Snippet Google Snippet Example

Note how in this example, the snippet lists the links that appear in the navigation section of my site. That’s clearly unhelpful to users who find my content through search engines. As a result, I’m trying to fix this issue. Today, I made a change to include appropriate meta description tags on each page. The tags are as follows:

  • All “static” pages (list of albums, list of collections, and favorites) now use a suitable static page description
  • Album pages use the album description itself for the meta tag contents
  • Image pages use the image’s alt-text for the page description

I’m not sure if duplicating the content (in the case of the album description) is a wise decision or not, but I don’t know what else to put there. I suppose I could truncate the data to maybe 150 characters, but that might seem strange on a Google search result page. Do you have any suggestions for how search results of this type should appear? Any ideas would be welcome.

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I have pushed out the changes I recently discussed to my photo album software. Album preview images now utilize the new 16:9 size, making it easier for me to select nice looking previews. Several album preview images have been changed as a result. The collection preview images have also been modified. I plan on doing some more work on collection previews in the near future, to allow for varying image collage templates.

Please let me know if you spot something broken. I made a lot of changes on the back end in the midst of doing this upgrade; hopefully I squashed any bugs that got introduced.

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Over the past few months, I have been intermittently working on a few modifications to my photo album software here at the site. The only change I have pushed out to the site so far is moving my favorites to their own dedicated tab. Another change that I’m still pondering is a modification to the aspect ratio for photo album previews. Here’s an example of the change I’m thinking about making:

Album Preview Modifications

The example on the left shows an album preview block as it appears on the site today, while the example on the right shows how I plan to make the preview image larger (please ignore the color differences). Today, each album’s preview image is a 16-to-6.4 ratio image (250 x 100). This tight ratio makes finding a usable preview image harder than it should be. I’m thinking about changing the preview to a 16-to-9 ratio (roughly 250 x 140). Using this alternate ratio, should help make preview photos stand out a bit more, and will make it easier to select nice looking images. The down side to this change, however, is that is will push content farther down the page (not to mention the slightly longer load times for the larger images).

Do you have an opinion on which is better?

I have just updated Monkey Album yet again, this time adding support for displaying high-res versions of individual images. This feature will typically be used to link to large panoramic photos that I take. Previously, I had to do this by hand, linking to an image manually in the caption. The old way was rife with problems; this new implementation is much better (and more portable!).

All of my previous panoramic photo entries have been updated to use this new feature. You’ll note a new link area just above these pictures now. Simply click it to view the high-resolution version of that image. I’m hoping this implementation is clear enough to the lay-user. If you have suggestions for improvement let me know. You’ll also probably need to refresh your cached stylesheet if you’ve visited my photos page recently (otherwise the new style won’t show up properly).

Here’s a listing of the current images now using this feature:

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Major Monkey Album Update

April 17, 2010

I have just rolled out a brand new version of my Monkey Album software, which powers the photo albums here at this site. There are a number of great improvements in this release:

  • Photo Album Collections are a new way to browse my photos. Related photo albums are now grouped, allowing visitors to easily view albums with similar content. Note that not all photo albums are a part of a collection, so the raw album listing is still the default view.
  • Individual photo albums can now be navigated with the keyboard. The right arrow key will take you to the next photo, while the left arrow key will take you back to the previous photo.
  • Photo album thumbnails are no longer paged. Each photo album now appears on a single page.
  • The comment form has been turned off for now, as has the comments RSS feed. This was a feature not being used, so I’ve disabled it. It may or may not return in the future.

The styles for Monkey Album have changed, so be sure to force a refresh in your browser (Ctrl + F5) if things look broken to you. If you spot a legitimate problem, or if you have a general comment or suggestion, please let me know by leaving a comment here.

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I’ve recently been thinking about ways to improve the organizational hierarchy of my photos. Specifically, I’d like to change the way photo albums are organized. A number of my albums fall into certain categories: state parks, festivals, zoos & museums, etc. As such, a categorical hierarchy could be very useful. One of my personal goals is to photograph every state park in North Carolina, and having a way of grouping those photo albums together would be terrific.

Two potential implementations for this occur to me. First, and most obviously, I could have a list of categories into which I assign each photo album (similar to the way blog posts are categorized in WordPress). Second is a “tagging” idea, where I simply add the appropriate tags to each photo album, then provide a mechanism to see albums with a given tag. Other solutions undoubtedly exist, and if you have an idea, let me know.

Changing the organization would most likely result in a rewrite of the main photography page. If I go with categories, I may have a page where the newest X photo albums would be shown, along with a few favorite images (that feature would stay), followed by the listing of available categories, rather than a listing of older albums. Perhaps a secondary page would allow you to view all old albums together.

How does that sound? Are there other ways that occur to you for organizing albums? How do you organize your personal collections? Sound off in the comments … I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Monkey Album Layout Changes

October 22, 2009

I have updated the look and feel of the albums view in Monkey Album. Note that you may have to force a hard-refresh to get the new style sheet (Ctrl + F5 usually does it). The most recent photo album is now given a more prominent position on the page, appearing in the top left corner. To the right of the most recent album is the new favorites preview block, now showing only 4 favorites (instead of the old 7). Other album previews follow, allowing access to my “archived” photo albums. In addition, the page now shows 19 albums per page, as opposed to the 9 shown previously. I may bump this number up, or forgo multiple pages altogether (and just use one long page). We’ll see how it goes.

One other change has also been made. All thumbnail images now link to the #content portion of their respective pages. So, you’ll no longer have to scroll down to view the image when you follow a thumbnail’s link.

What do you think of these changes? Should I stick with them, or were things better previously? Are there any browsers where the look and feel appears broken? Your comments and suggestions are appreciated!

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