We've been working with our friends at Photobucket for over a year on all sorts of changes to their service. We've designed and coded parts of their upload feature, photo albums, photo pages and "find stuff" section, as well as led the company's first user tests in Denver. It's been a fun ride watching their user base tick up from 20 million to over 50 million people and sell to MySpace for $300 million.
Photobucket is a cool company because they focus on giving people what they want--control over their content and a no-frills site to interact with it. Founder and CEO Alex Welch has also created a bootstrap culture not afraid to try and fail and try again. We like that kind of gunslinging approach because it's the quickest way to produce big, measurable results.
This past month we got on the horn with Alex, Michael, Dan and the rest of the team in Denver to talk about a little side project they have named TinyPic.com. Currently ranked 320th worldwide on Alexa's traffic rankings, TinyPic is one part Photobucket, one part TinyUrl. It gives you free upload for photos and videos without signing up for an account. There are no photo albums or private storage for pictures, you just post it up there, grab the links you need, and forget about it.
At least that's how a lot of people are using TinyPic. One of the aims of this redesign was to start changing that behavior a little bit. Could we figure out a way to expose people to more of that site's content? Would people even care? Would any new traffic stick? The idea was to measure some improvement in people's behavior and learn from the experience. Along the way the team added multi-lingual support, cleaned up the site's code to get pages loading and rendering faster for a snappier experience, and added a touch more personality with the visual design.
Two weeks later and the early returns are promising. Some of the changes in behavior we wanted are happening. We look forward to learning more from customers and making new changes to improve the service next year.