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500px Unveils Major Redesign and Marketplace

500px, which has become one of the fastest-growing photo-sharing services, has unveiled a major redesign, as well as a new market that lets people buy and sell photos.

To get a better handle on what’s new, 500px co-founder Evgeny Tchebotarev answered a few questions.

What are the major parts of the redesign?

The biggest things of the redesign is the Flow, Stories and the Market. However, we have completely rethought everything that was on the site to make it faster, more convenient and more responsive. Starting from minor things like custom share buttons for Twitter and Facebook to things like better Search with lots of sorting options.

What are the highlights? 

The highlights, however, are the Flow, Stories and the Market. We introduced Flow, which is a new way to discover photos. Not just what we may recommend you, or what you choose to see, but rather you see photos based on actions of your friends. That way, by sharing same ideas and art views, you get to see a lot more great photos. Stories is a new platform for photo-blogs and photo-story sharing. It’s super-easy to use, and it shows photos in gorgeous high-resolution. Everything looks so much better, and there are thousands of stories to browse (http://500px.com/stories).

The Market looks like an important move for 500px. Can you provide some details about its development? 

The Market is, of course, our biggest move there. We’ve been working on that for a few months, and our idea is to bring flawless and beautiful buying and selling experience. With previous platforms, you buy a photo, the photographer gets an email, and if the photos is not large enough, the photographer has to visit the site and upload a high-resoluton file. If he/she fails to do so, the transaction is cancelled. I’d imagine many ruined birthday surprises because of that. What we’ve done is the opposite. All the photos you see in the Market (there are 220,000+ already), you can immediately buy on a large canvas (24×36″) or an HD download (1920×1080). And then the issue comes of prices and choices.

On other platforms we tested, you have a choice of 17 photo papers, canvases, metal, acrylic, plus a hundred of different sizes, plus a few dozen of different frames. By the time buyer gets to the checkout, he or she has gone through five to s screens. There’s also pricing — some photographers price their photos high, some low. I’ve seen many times where I really like some photo, but it’s expensive and over my budget, but there’s another photo, which I kinda like… and it’s cheaper. Which one should I get? That’s why we have one simple price for everyone. When buyer comes on the site — from a choice to a purchase there’s just one screen, one price for all prints, and one gorgeous canvas to print it on.

500px has enjoyed robust growth. Is there still plenty of traction?

We’ve been growing healthy — ordering new servers every few weeks or so and reengineering architecture behind the site. For example, the complexity of the Flow is far beyond pretty much anything anyone is doing in a photo space. It takes into account even minor things to calculate and show you exactly what you’d like to see.

Are you attracting different types of users in addition to avid photographers?

In terms of users, we are indeed focusing to cater to a new wave of users — some of those newly registered users are simply observers. They love to collect. They favorite hundreds of photos, but have few themselves. What we are changing here is that you can visit their profile and see their personal Flow to see what kind of user they are. If you like their favorites and taste, by following them you’ll get curated content on your home page. So we are opening the site not just to photographers, but to people with good taste who can get lots of followers simply by being avid photo collectors.

What’s next?

And of course that’s not all — we’ve been busy finishing up a few more projects (an Android app is one of them) and will be happy to release them really soon. As you know, we still operate as a very small group, and we are pushing the boundaries of what such a small team can accomplish.

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