As a photographer, I find Flickr incredibly useful for several functions, the most prominent of which is its ability to easily share an entire large-format slideshow using a single link. But Flickr has a ton of shortcomings on the design side, which Timoni West (via Gruber) is quick to point out:
Flickr can have a serious competitive advantage if they make photo uploads easy to see and navigate: everybody likes photos, and likes seeing themselves in photos, and it’s even nicer to see photos all arranged on a page without visual cruft like status interruptions and article links. It’s also crucial to have different ways of viewing the photos: chronological is important, but so are groupings by date and contact type.
In other words, Flickr still has the ability to kick ass in this arena. They just have to build it.
Flickr has experienced significant failures on the social side of their business. But West’s post is also a good reminder of how social strategy and design must work together, especially in an industry where competition is so fierce (see: Facebook Photos).