SmugMug’s customizer is extremely powerful and option-rich with the capability of building a website experience from scratch. With that power comes complexity. If a customer wishes to make simple changes to an existing design template, such as change the primary color of their site and the font, they are presented with hundreds of different customization options. Great for some web designers but photographers, although creative in their own right, are not necessarily designers.
The goal of the new customizer was to give the customer enough options to add their own personal taste, define their own brand and give them tools to display their photos in their preferred method without bogging them down with endless options. We had to ask ourselves “what are the most important and high impact options a photographer needs to make them feel empowered?” Too little options and the customer feels like it’s not their own website. Too many options and the customer feels overwhelmed and may not ever want to add their personal touches to their site.
By limiting the customization options, the customer can do no wrong. No matter what option is enabled , displayed, altered or type treatment is selected, they photography website will look amazing. We did not want to build WIX or Squarespace. We wanted to build a personalizer rather than a builder that’s incredibly easy to use to make it their own so the photographers can concentrate on what they care about most: photography.
This design has been put on hold and has yet to launch due to other projects taking priority. The new customizing experience has gone through several rounds of user testing and we were able to get a lot of feedback on what they loved, what caused confusion and gaining a better understanding of the photographer’s needs. One of my favorite user testing quote was “I love this! This is exactly why I am paying for SmugMug. I don’t want to build anything. I just want to add my touches.”