Lightbox Viewing Experience for Photography

Photographers want to showcase their photos online as big and beautiful as possible without clutter or obstruction. They also want to give their visitors the ability to leave comments, offer download options, buy prints and digital downloads, and the ability to share the photos through social media. The SmugMug lightbox experience needed a complete design to meet the photographer’s needs. The design had to be simple enough that it could accommodate any visual customization and would work well no matter how many photo interaction options were enabled.  

To better utilize the common 16:9 widescreen ratio in phones, monitors and laptops, the UI actions where placed outside and on the sides of photos rather than overlaying them over the photos. The UI took a minimalist approach to give focus and attention to the photo. The Buy Photo option is the only action that’s been given emphasis since most photographers want their customers to be aware when a photograph is available for purchase. Customers are given the option to customize the look and feel of the lightbox with color themes and type treatments. 

To validate our choices based on existing feedback, data and metrics, and overall company goals, we ran several design iterations through in-person user testing sessions. After receiving user feedback, we were able to launch the new lightbox experience to an increase in viewing engagement, more actions taken by the viewers, and a rise in print sales.