SmugMug photo sharing service gets major redesign


posted Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 12:39 PM EDT


The SmugMug photo sharing service has just announced a mammoth overhaul to the look and feel of its offerings, radically changing not only the way your online portfolio will look, but also how it handles customization and image organizing.

SmugMug will be live streaming an unveiling of the new service at 10:30am PST (1:30pm EST) but if you don't want to wait for that, you can see much of the information about the redesign on a blog post.

The redesign appears to have put an emphasis on the images themselves, making them larger and tightly packed together, and much more the focus of attention. The blog post mentioned above shows how the new design differs from the old, and it's an astonishing change in the layouts.

The redesign also brings a mammoth amount of customization with it. There are dozens of designs and themes in the update, which can be tweaked and altered to your heart's content. If you're already a SmugMug user, the migration process is designed to be as painless as possible. When you transition to the redesign, your content is duplicated into the new version, where you can tweak and play with it in private until you reach the point where you're happy taking it live.

Unfortunately, if you're a member of SmugMug at the lowest level — paying $5/month for a basic account — you won't get all the cool tools and tricks that the update brings. Here's what you can (and can't) do:

Basic users may use and swap between our many Themes, but won’t be able to edit or create them.
Basic users can customize content and layout for their homepages only.
Content blocks related to more complex customization and commerce features are not included on Basic accounts.

As with before, SmugMug subscriptions run from $5 to $30 a month, with a variety of features. Here's a full list of what's new, courtesy of SmugMug, and some discussion about transitioning.

Things that we improved:

  • Homepage design
  • Folder page layout (previously Category/Subcategory pages)
  • Gallery layout (all gallery styles)
  • Lightbox view
  • Video player
  • Slideshows
  • Package image selection
  • Gallery Settings
  • Themes
  • Sharegroup pages
  • Event pages
  • Photo and gallery picker

Brand-new features:

  • Complete customization overhaul, including Site Designs
  • Site-wide drag and drop Organizer
  • Folders can go 5 levels deep, allowing for 7 total layers
  • Gallery-level comments now optional
  • Thumbs up/down replaced by Like
  • Can now create Pages
  • New Gallery Styles
  • Folder-level security and privacy settings
  • Mobile site now mimics regular site, including customization
  • New privacy level (owner-only “Private”)
  • Expanded search structure

Advance reviews of the new SmugMug are already starting to arrive, and it's obviously a significant change for the better. The question is how it will stack up to the likes of the recent 500px redesign, which at least has some allowance for free users. The new SmugMug will also be competing with Flickr, which revamped its look in May, while offering 1TB of free storage to users.

The new UI for organization
A customized, professional page
A new page at the "consumer" level
Sample design "Nyx"
Sample design "Octavia"
Sample design "Dina"