The report entails a review of an existing search system to illustrates its usage and capacity to meet user’s needs. The report analyzes the Flickr search system – to illustrate the key features that support users in the search process. The key objectives of the report include illustrating how well the search system meets the needs of its users. As well as, how well the search system enables to retrieve information items. This leads to the analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the search system giving room for potential improvements that are outlined in the report. The report identifies the typical users of the Flickr search system, search features appropriate to support the user experience. This shows the significance of the support features in accessing critical information items based on user needs.
The research indicates that Flickr primarily uses photos and short videos as key components through which users communicate and interact. The use of photos and short videos creates a unique experience in which users can learn of the beauty in life through photography. Flickr brings together professionals and clients to a common platform where they can share insights on photography. However, Flickr’s use of photos and short videos serves as a limitation. Furthermore, Flickr’s limited search results show high potential for improvement to ensure users access essential and relevant information.
Table of Contents
Reviewing of an Existing Search System.. 4
Description of the Selected Search System.. 4
Description of the Search Tasks. 6
Supporting User’s Search Process. 8
Analysis of Retrieval Performance. 11
Discussion and Recommendations. 12
IRS Strengths and Weaknesses. 13
Potential Improvements (Recommendations) 15
The selected search system comprises of Flickr which provides an avenue for online photos and video management. Flickr aims at bringing a breath of connection between people and groups together to share their experiences through photos and videos in their life. The key objectives of Flickr are assisting people effectively make their photos expressing their memories available to those they value and matter most in their lives. As well, create new ways in which both people and groups can organize their photos and videos online. This creates a platform in which storage and retrieval of photos and videos have been enhanced to suit individual needs with tens of billions of photos stored in the site. Thus, Flickr provides one of the most creative search systems in which you can find billions of photos across different fields which can be easily retrieved and download for user needs.
Flickr has been in operation for 15 years since February 10, 2004, when it was launched. It has its headquarters in San Francisco, California, U.S. but was founded in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 2004. The website was founded by Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake. Over the years of its existence, Flickr has been owned by Ludicorp (2004-2005) which later sold the company to Yahoo! (2005-2017). From 2017-2018, Oath acquired Flickr and operated it for a year. Presently, Flickr is owned and operated by SmugMug with at least 10 language components to facilitate its user-friendliness across the globe. The key languages that Flickr runs on include Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and Vietnamese. Thus, make the search system more user-friendly and supportive to diverse user clientele.
|Flickr||Launched 2004 (Vancouver, British Columbia – Canada)|
|Headquarters||San Francisco, California, U.S.|
|Estimated Daily Uploads||3.5 Million|
The typical users of Flickr comprise individuals, groups, and businesses that use photos as a way of life and conducting their various activities. Mainly used for storage of photos and short video purposes – the user capacity that has logged into the platform minimizes it’s potential compared to other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram (Barrios et al. 2009). Flickr has approximately 100 million users who access both Free and Pro accounts. Anyone can open and operate a Free account while Pro accounts are reserved for professionals in the field. The professionals consume more data traffic to support extensive uploads of videos and photos for commercial purposes. With over 3.5 million uploadings of photos daily – Flickr has continuously gained enormous following and user capacity increase. Thus, meeting the needs of the user with increased storage for Pro account users (Above 1 TB for Free accounts) to allow more photos and short videos uploads.
The key search features found in Flickr consist of the “Explore” option which offers a variety of recent, trending, and events that are key among Flickr users. The “Explore” search feature allows the users to access The Commons, Flickr Galleries, World Map, Camera Finder, and Flickr Blog. These are enlightening features that enable the users to streamline their search prospects (Hearst 2009). For example, on trending tags – the new contents shown comprises photos of national geography, designs, exterior (outside), shop, home, sunset, beach, sky, water, flowers, night, city, cars, Christmas, music, et cetera, et cetera.
The Pro version allows users access to a variety of features that expand the usage of photos and videos to create new aspects such as publications. Flickr Pro enables access to unlimited storage space for cloud storage of photos and short videos making user needs more satisfied (Huiskes & Lew 2008). The platform provides ad-free browsing, advanced stats, and access to professional photo editors including SmugMug, Adobe, Blurb, Chartbooks, Peak Design, PHLEARN, Priime, and Pixsy. These features increase the user services accessibility and protection of photos online for a long period of time. In so doing, ascertains opportunities to promote businesses – photography, products, photography classes, among others (Kellar et al. 2006). Selling of images becomes more efficient with Flickr Pro through the creation of a universal platform that brings billions of users from across the globe.
Flickr providing a wide variety of results and search output can be utilized for diverse purposes. The purposes include individual and commercial needs. Often, individual needs can be satisfied using a Free account which provides up to 1 TB storage capacity. The storage allows the safekeeping of photos and short videos to a maximum of 1000 items. The new system upgrades allow the deleting of old photos automatically to enable the storage of new ones should the user fail to subscribe to Pro account. The Pro account provides unlimited storage capacity (Toms 2011). Often preferred for professionals and commercial purposes because one can store as many photos and videos as possible. The business promotion has been enhanced through images enabling to connect the consumers to the products directly. Thus, creating a sense of connection and feeling towards through images.
Flickr search system communicates through images as the primary feature. Users can access diverse photos across thousands of categories. The categories aspect enables the user to easily access the photos they desire with ease and efficiency of the search results (Wilson 2011). The search tasks focused on this exercise include war images and interior designs.
The war images serve a crucial purpose in life and history. The understanding of where the world has come from and has endured throughout history is fundamental to appreciating the present and shaping the future (Toms 2011). The war history connects humankind through past deeds as a caution of what can become if aggression is allowed to take the course. Take for example, world wars images that illustrate the pain and suffering experienced through acts of war that caused world carnage. This emphasizes the value of proceeding with caution to avoid the use of force as a way of solving conflicts in the world. Thus, assessing the war images better communicates through the reflection of the world and humankind and experience in history as a result of aggressive measures and actions against each other.
The interior design images compose of an area of great interest and passion to see the beauty of the human mind in creativity. The interior designs explicitly create a sense of connection to one’s surroundings as a way in which one can feel alive and appreciate the beauty of life (Wilson 2011). The capacity to live in a conducive environment that best captures the value of life and beauty in it is critical. Flickr through millions of photos can outline diverse themes that can make the best living and working environment. Thus, the search system of interior designs captures the epitome of the human mind in making working and living conditions the most conducive as possible.
Flickr provides key parameters that serve an essential purpose in making the search results efficiently streamlined to suit the users’ needs. Classified into three key components – the search system gives the search results on the basis of photos, people, and groups (Resnick & Vaughan 2006). The search results on photos give 215,219 images from the search results illustrating different designs and features incorporated by interior designers. This is essential for users to understand the diversity of the field in which the seek more information. The creativity of the search results illustrates the uniqueness of the human mind that can be used to make the best for living and working areas. The search results on people provide a wide array of individuals who have specialized in the field and can be contacted for such services. This is a fundamental search feature that brings together professionals and individuals with interest in the respective field. In turn, ideas and knowledge sharing are made to be in an engaging manner between people-people connections (Rose & Levinson 2004). The search results on groups illustrate companies, businesses, and organizations specializing in the field. This is crucial to the users as they can connect with the groups for further analysis impacting the expansion of the field.
The search system – Flickr provides an extensive filter capacity to enable users to streamline their searches in specific customization. The capacity to customize the search is provided in the features that allow the user to adjust the orientation of the photos found on the search results. The orientation provided by Flickr includes landscape, portrait, square, and panorama. These are critical features for Pro users who access images for a variety of purposes allowing them to utilize the photos in different contexts. Also, the size of the photos accessed matters (Sutcliffe & Ennis 1998). Flickr provides search results with photo sizes comprising of small images, medium (640), and large (1024). The date taken parameters is a significant feature for customizing the search results with the specified period (from-to) when the photo was uploaded/created. In terms of contents, one can access search results as photos or videos. The photos are accessed in thumbnail, justified, and tile views.
The availability of ten different languages to support the running of the search system is fundamental to enable users from different origins to be served efficiently. With the vast majority of global languages covered, Flickr is a search system from billions of people around the world. The feature supports the understanding of the components of the search system with ease (Lerman et al. 2007). The use of languages that can be understood by millions of people is significant to increase the number of users that access the site. Thus, makes it more user-friendly and efficient in understanding the contents.
The access to thousands of events both upcoming and past events illustrates the search system’s innovative approach to connect users to a common pool. Users with common interests can create events in which they can advance the world of images and videos to make life brighter. The research shows that events can be global or take a national outlook. This is critical for the cohesiveness of the humankind towards serving specific purposes in life. The approach is unique in its way to bring professionals and amateurs in a common platform where experiences and expertise can be shared to enhance the value of photos.
Finally, the feedback feature allows the user access to hot topics on the search system that may prove to be helpful. The world of technology continues to increasingly become competitive making user experience to be of paramount importance. Access to hot topics creates an understanding of what is happening and how to keep up with the current trends. This gives users the freedom to enjoy the platform as possible by illuminating areas that may be problematic and interfere with user experience. For example, dealing with ads is a tedious and often frustrating experience. The concept of informative the users on how to deal and minimize the ads is fundamental to positively impact on user experience. Thus, make the platform more supportive of user needs and uses on a wide array.
Table Summarizing the Functionalities Offered by the Search System
|Feature||Purpose||Primary Categorization||Other Categorization|
|Search Box||Type the content to search||Input|
|Explore||Offers variety of recent and trending events||Control|
|Sorting Results||Streamline the search results||Control||Personalization|
|Filters||Streamline the search results||Control||Personalization|
|Advanced Features||Allows sizing of the Orientation, Size, Date Taken, Content, and Search in Photos/Videos||Control||Informational, Personalization|
|Feedback||Share your views||Personalization|
|Visualization||Search results – Photos, People, or Groups||Informational|
|Any License||Confirms copyrights||Control|
|SafeSearch On||Safety measures||Control|
|Create||Allows one to create new content||Input|
|Get Pro||Advanced levels||Input||Control, Personalization|
|Upload||Add new content||Input|
|Log in/Sign up||Subscribe/Register to the Site||Input||Control, Personalization|
The search retrieval performance of Flickr is exquisite and streamlined to suit the user’s needs. For example, the compiling of photos into galleries is one of the basic features that Flickr utilizes to maintain exquisite user experience. That is, galleries are created on the basis of duration, field, and common features the photos exhibit. Such as ‘Best Shot 2019: Textures’, Wildlife, Flickr Friday, Celebrations, Portraits, Trending, Macro, among others. Flickr brings users from different countries together to share their experiences through photos and show the best moments. This is crucial to provide a unique way of doing things beyond the search for books and information contents (Lerman et al. 2007). The search system on Flickr is limited to photos only as of the way of communication and connecting users around the world. Thus, it provides a platform for photographers and designers unique from others crowded by vast content.
In my search system utilization experience, Flickr results consist of images uploaded on the platform by other users. For example, in the search for the interior design – the following search queries were used in the exercise.
In the search for war images – the following search queries and keywords were used in the exercise.
Based on the search system results, the performance retrieval is not up to standard as would be expected. That is, certain topics give results that do not rhyme with the contents. For instance, in the search for impacts of war – anguish, pain, fear, suffering, destruction, wreckage, among other feelings and illustrations are expected to be shown by photos in the search results. Contrary to that, the search system results illustrate photos that are out of context and scope. Such instances do not serve the needs of the user and one may end up not finding the search results they required. In turn, assert to be frustrating and fail to meet the user needs in the search contents accessed.
However, in topics such as interior designs, nature, wildlife, national geography, water, sky, flowers, among, Flickr provides the best search results. The context of such images is profoundly clear and helpful towards meeting the user needs. This indicates a tendency in which – based on the topic the search system may provide necessary search results or fail. In turn, the user is not guaranteed or certain of accessing the necessary information and contents they desire. As a search system – Flickr is vastly undermined by the limited information in which the user can access and utilize to suit their needs. Thus, it proves to be difficult in finding it to be an efficient search tool.
Flickr has several strengths that facilitate the user experience to be unique in the context of using photos as the primary way of communication. Users on Flickr communicate and interact through the use of images to illustrate the beauty of life. The key strengths of the Flickr search system include the aspect that it arranges images into categories of classification and key common features that rationalizes the search process. This enables the users to access numerous images in the same context of classification that they are searching for on the web. This is essential for unique experiences utilized by the platform to connect with its users.
Also, through the Photos, People, and Groups search contexts – the Flickr search system allows the user to access information on the photos of key areas they search for, individuals in the field, and groups that provide similar services. This creates a wide network of professionals and individuals who can collaborate to produce the best works in the field. The capacity for search results to be customized is critical as it allows the user to filter the search output as much as possible. In turn, this increases the reliability and significance of the search system in enabling users to meet their needs.
However, the Flickr information retrieval system (IRS) shows low-performance rates on the fact that it is based on photos uploaded by users only. With approximately 100 million users, Flickr contents are low compared to other search systems such as Google. The search system results indicate a low number of contents that they find to conform with the search criteria, query, and keywords. This limits the user to specified information. Thus, indicate a key weakness that undermines the growth of user subscription to the platform.
As well, Flickr limits the search results to the use of images only. The search results of Flickr consist of photos and short videos. Other versions such as text, books, pdfs, blogs, articles, journals, among others are not available on the platform. This is an indication of limited information access on key issues. For example, the search on interior designs shows just photos of the interior but not the design (size, theme, color, dimensions, among other specifications). This is limiting to the user who seeks to know more information on the subject.
Furthermore, the Flickr search system shows the weakness in providing search results that do not align with the search context and scope. This makes it redundant and an inessential search platform that does not ascertain the user of finding what they are looking for. As an artist, reviewing past photos – graphics of various contexts is dependent on where other users have uploaded similar content on the platform. Thus, limit the search results and efficiency to meet user needs.
Flickr search system shows a profound potential for improvement that can make the platform more revered and used by many users. First, increasing information content is crucial to suit the needs of the user. Flickr should invest in providing and/or connecting the user to key information that relates to their search needs. For instance, a partnership with affiliate companies is essential to ensure that users always access infinite information on any subject they desire. The uniqueness of the Flickr search system can bring more clientele into the platform.
Second, reviewing the data classification to be more relevant to the search needs is essential to ensure scope and results in rhyme. The capacity to emphasize correct information is significant to capture the relevant sources in an informative manner. This makes the user become more confident with the platform.
Finally, the capacity to build on information availability and access is key to making a Flickr search system a success. The link between data and queries must always provide the right results for every search. This is essential to ensure users’ needs are always satisfied in every click on the platform. The unique nature of Flickr’s context that comprises the use of photos and short videos should enable users to leave comments, reviews, likes/dislikes, and status to draw more users to the platform. Thus, user-friendliness and information availability and access are the key aspects to making Flickr a success.