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Andy Millne

What's New in Gallery?

Humans are visual beings. Images attract our attention, can communicate ideas faster than the written word and can trigger meaningful discussions. At Invision Community we recognised this very early in the company history and have included a Gallery application for many years. During this time online communities have evolved substantially so we thought it was time to re-assess what it means to offer a community gallery and have some exciting developments to share.

Visual Refresh

The first thing we wanted to do was to give the look & feel a modern overhaul. @Ehren has done a fantastic job with modern design ideas. We took inspiration from the recent overhaul of the Events app and included a brand new Gallery overview page. This view better highlights featured and new images but also brings recent image comments in to focus to promote discussion.

Could contain: Lunch, Meal, Food, Cutlery, Fork, Breakfast, Dog, Fruit, Apple, Coffee Cup

Better Video Support

Video support has been included in Invision Community for a while but browser support has varied wildly. This often led to a poor experience where viewers were prompted to download plugins or forced to download the video in its entirety. Browser support for MP4 playback has moved on however and we have been able to update Gallery with some new functionality.

Frames from the video can be extracted for the preview thumbnail automatically. We have retained the option to upload a separate preview image however for people that want manual control over the image shown. Skipping ahead in videos is now also supported without the need to download the entire file or use plugins.

For communities that are able to leverage our cloud platform non MP4 videos will be automatically converted to support these features.

Searchable Image Contents

Another benefit for Cloud Communities is images can now be optionally analysed to make their contents searchable. For example, if an image of a tree or woodland scene is uploaded, this would previously only be searchable if the title or description of the image contained specific words or phrases. Now images can be identified solely by their visual contents.

NSFW (Not Safe For Work)

Invision Community contains tools to automatically moderate sensitive images to prevent them being posted. Some communities with more mature audiences may wish to allow these to be posted however but with some protection. We have therefore added the ability for images to be optionally set as NSFW when uploading. This will cause images to be blurred until the viewer opts in to viewing them.

Could contain: Strawberry, Berry, Fruit, Produce, Food, Plant

Performance & Usability

Images by their nature can be slow to load (particularly on mobile connections) so we took some time and removed lots of redundant javascript and CSS. Where appropriate we have also added support for prefetching the next and previous images in an album or category and lazy loading is handled by the browser natively. We combined this with an improved image navigation experience using an image carousel when viewing individual images and removed the confusing Lightbox overlay. The Lightbox is now used solely for full screen image previews without the visual clutter of comment counts and other meta data.

Could contain: Lunch, Food, Meal, Plate, Breakfast, Bread, Brunch

These changes are the start of further Gallery improvements to come and as always we will continue to develop based on your feedback.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

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Excellent update! I'm excited about this, and I think given the 100's of gallery improvement posts and topics over the years, you've done a great job in identifying where to start and what to prioritise.

Thank you for sorting the obviously long overdue UI issues, especially the navigation and Lightbox. Hopefully it won't be as intrusive autoloading. Great to see it less crowded. I was intending to add integration with AWS Rekognition to create image tags, so that's a nice touch.

Gallery has always been a good app, better than most in terms of functionality but it needed these modern updates every is now so used from the best WP galleries. Less JS is hugely welcome, even if less reliance on JQuery for vanilla JS, and finally native lazyloading; please add that throughout the suite immediately!

Looking forward to seeing more of the category, album and image layouts. Will there be a choice of layouts in terms of masonry, grid, filterable etc?

Any plans for Gallery integration with Commerce?

A great start to modernising this app. 😋

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On 1/11/2023 at 9:29 AM, The Old Man said:

Any plans for Gallery integration with Commerce?

We have some thoughts on this, but nothing in the roadmap at this time. Generally speaking, we want Commerce to be able to handle monetisation of your content across the suite.

On 1/13/2023 at 5:34 PM, ZakRhyno said:

Would there be any change to the front page of the gallery app to allow for different design and or layouts?

Not at this time, but happy to hear your thoughts? Do you mean pre-made templates you can toggle between?

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This is a great addition and I'm really looking forward to the changes because we recently started using the Gallery for both photo and video uploads.

 

Could contain: Arrowhead, Weapon, Arrow, Triangle, Moon, Outdoors, Night, Nature, Astronomy  The "Play" button overlay does not appear when viewing images/videos in an album page -- unless it's clicked. People may not click because it's not obvious that the image is actually a video. Is it possible to make this button/overlay appear in the homepage of albums?

 

The same thing happens in the Image Feed block. Videos are listed with pictures, but there is no differentiation between the two or anything to indicate to viewers that there is actually a video they can watch.

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On 1/20/2023 at 5:09 PM, My Sharona said:

Was advertising for the full screen image previews removed?

If you're referring to the sidebar, no. You can add blocks to the header, sidebar, footer of this view using the block manager as normal.

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14 minutes ago, Andy Millne said:

If you're referring to the sidebar, no. You can add blocks to the header, sidebar, footer of this view using the block manager as normal.

I was actually referring to the advertising permitted within the 'Lightbox.' I'm guessing that the lightbox has fallen to the wayside with this release.

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Wait, so there is a category for member albums? We disabled member albums because they were getting hidden away, or because they were too visible on the front page. This could solve that issue.

The problem with showing albums on the front page, like in the shot above, is invariably someone will create a not-so-great album and it will always be seen on the top page, all the time. I don't want to delete their images, but I also don't want that to be there, forever, always stinking up the main page. All our categories show the highest-ranking image first, which makes the content look good. If someone uploads a crap image, well, at least it only sticks around the new images block for a little while before it gets pushed off.

Few people use albums, but sometimes it really is the nice for viewing a collection of images that all belong together. If there is a category where member albums can be browsed, that would be very nice and maybe I would bring member albums back.

The fullscreen lightbox sounds nice. Viewing the image at max resolution is useful.

Edited by Interferon
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It would be nice if users have more options for privacy per album. „I  want to choose which groups can see this album“ and so on – as for submissions.

Could contain: Page, Text

It would be even better if this is a setting per photo, but that might be too much.

 

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Only used it for a few minutes but my first thoughts were:

  • Great to say the Lightbox cutback. It is like the result of Makoto’s old gallery improvements plugin. However the images don’t fill the landscape view, so they leave ann ugly space each side of the image, as if they are square images. If you view in portrait mode the layout is better and images wider.
  • No swipe navigation when viewing an image. There is on the main Gallery index, though.
  • Some ugly URLs with query strings E.g ?context=new 
  • The home page, I can’t quite put my finger on it but somethings just off. I’m unsure if its too much white space, padding or the aspect ratio of the thumbnails, or the carousel aspect ratio with the comments block next to it but everything above the grid layout on new images don’t blend in.
  • In the album view you have a choice of the 3 layouts which are outdated, except the grid layout, which needs tightening up like on the front gallery page new images grid section.
  • moving between images results in a page load, can’t they be Ajaxed?
  • Recently updated albums, maybe add just the views and comments icons underneath to make 2 or 3 icons.
  • Option to view a full image full would be more user friendly, maybe add the icon and make image tools show on hover or move below off the image to keep it unobstructed?
  • The images tab in a members profile shows no images, but the adjacent album and activity tabs do:
    Could contain: Page, Text, File
  • Could contain: Page, Text, Dinosaur, Reptile, Animal, File, Fern, Plant, Pineapple, Produce
  • Could contain: Tree, Plant, Conifer, File, Screw, Machine
  •  

I haven’t read the whole feedback so apologies if these thoughts have been mentioned previously.

Edited by The Old Man
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