🚀 Unsplash Product Update: Photo Page Rollout, Stories, & Performance

Photo Page Rollout

After a few weeks of work and internal testing, Kirill and Naoufal rolled out the extended version of the photo page to a small portion of random Unsplash users on Friday.

The current version of the photo page has evolved visually but it’s still largely the same page that we shipped 2 years ago. We touched on some of the problems with the current version in a previous update, including the difficulty in supporting additional content, like related content.

The current version of the photo page and its lack of support for additional content.

This latest version adds support for portrait orientation photos, related collections, related tags, and better location display.

The new version of the photo page, with the additional content displayed below the photo.

With the minimal design of the info section under the photo, we can support future features like remixes, stories, extended stats, and more, while still providing the same full-page immersive experience of the previous version — something unique to Unsplash.

If you want to give the new photo page a try, follow this link to enable the experiment. We love getting feedback, so feel free to send us your thoughts on Twitter.

Stories

Since starting Unsplash, we’ve long debated the merits of adding descriptions to photos like other photography sites naturally do.

In our opinion, descriptions are left too open-ended and their presentation is often lacking, discouraging photographers from sharing the intimate details of their great photography.

Flickr and 500px’s presentation of photo descriptions leave a lot to be desired 🤔

We’re big believers in the idea that every photograph has a unique and interesting story though, and so a few months ago, our community team launched Untold, a series exploring the stories behind some of the most popular photographs on Unsplash.

Hearing the stories from Untold prompted our product team to reconsider photo descriptions from the angle of story-telling. Kirill, while working on a new design for the photo page, incorporated a bold presentation of a story as the first element beneath the photo, creating a striking visual, as Unsplash usually has very limited text on any page.

Naturally, not every photo needs to share a story, so we’ve made the new photo page flexible to support photo’s without stories (which is the current version of the page you’ll see right now, since stories aren’t yet supported).

We’ll be rolling out support for presenting stories later this week, but if you’re a photographer you can begin filling in details now, as we’ve created a new screen in the uploader and the account settings for editing your photo’s stories.


  • App performance rarely gets much publicity, but it’s crucial for any successful app once it hits a certain scale. Aaron deployed a huge improvement to the soon-to-be-released Following Feed, building a bulk enrichment step that is 50–100% faster than the previous version. Improvements like this are crucial keeping our small team focused on features and away from their pagers in the middle of the night.
  • Tim rolled out a new system for tracking API usage at the CDN layer, allowing us to track cached responses that never hit our server.
  • Josh migrated the site to using PM2, a Node process manager, replacing our use of a forked version of Throng. We’ve seen some strange memory patterns in the little Express app that we use to render React server-side, but using PM2 seems to have fixed most of these.

TTU: 6.35M minutes (+6.24% over the same week a month ago)