Here's my annual short review and report card for Zenfolio for anyone that is interested:
Design and Layouts Grade A
1. Design layouts are probably the best in the industry based on features, web functionality, and price. 2. While the learning cure is somewhat steep, Zenfolio does offer good training and support resources through their Support Center, direct email, and On-line chat (if you have a Premium Business Account. 3. Setting up price sheets, packages, digital products, self-fulfilled items, etc... and assigning them to galleries works very well.
Amin User Interface Grade D
1. Changes made to the new user interface earlier this year caught many of us off guard and unprepared to adopt to the new workflows. We still struggle to find things that were very easy to find in the old UI. Zenfolio should have released this as a public beta, asked for feedback and help from its customers, and made sure that all bugs were resolved before replacing the old UI. The development team lied to us indicating that they would not eliminate the Old UI until all bugs were resolved. That didn't happen. On March 3, 2015, Vitas said, "Also, I want to make it clear that the old edit view will not be discontinued until we address the defects...." On March 31, 2015, the old edit view was removed and the defects remained.
2. While I personally have learned to adapt to the new interface, I know that many still have issues and struggle with it. My heart goes out to all of you.
3. The D was given mostly for the manner in which the Zenfolio development team and support staff managed the entire rollout of the new UI.
4. We have sucked it up and are worn out trying to voice our concerns. You win. (7/7/15)
Mobile Web Application Grade F
1. Not much to say other than it doesn't work and is not usable by our clients. 2. Development team wasting their time with Photo Moments Ap. Doesn't solve anything! (added 7/7/15)
End User Client ExperienceGrade C Downgrade to D (7/7/15)
1. Zenfolio did make a few changes that improved the end user client experience. For example, when you add a product to your shopping cart, the system takes you right back to the gallery and picture you were on. No more have to hunt for the "Return to Gallery Button". Crop marks are less noticeable with the elimination of the orange lines causing less confusion to clients that purchase from photographers that do not allow their customers to crop images. The hashed shadow lines still cause some of my clients some confusion.
2. I took a bit of my own medicine and discovered that there were things that I was actually doing to cause confusion for my clients. I changed several things and simplified others with the help of many of my clients that offered their feedback. They still believe, however, that the crop lines around the images in the shopping cart are distracting.
3. The product descriptions for MPIX/MPIX Pro/Miller are absolutely HORRIBLE!! They imply options that I don't provide and are cheezy at best. Make these descriptions editable by the photographer like we can with digital products, packages, and self-fulfilled items!!!!! If you don't want to do that then at least change the descriptions so they are more generic in nature and apply to ALL Photographers. You could do this in about 10 minutues without any programming!!!!!!! Why wait?????
4. Renderings and shopping cart have become exceptionally slow in the past three weeks. Should clients really have to wait 5 minutes for images to be displayed or 3-4 minutes for order confirmations to go through? (added 7/7/15)
Lab Partners Grade F
1. MPIX and MPIX Pro are owned by Millers. This is not three lab partners. As such, they hold an iron grip over all of us (like anyone in a monopoly position). They don't offer anything more in terms of quality than any of their peers in the industry and charge prices that are anywhere from 25%-80% higher. Example prices for common print sizes are as follows:
MPIX / MPIXpro /Millers**/WHCC /Exposure Manager / BayPhoto / EZ Prints / Adorama
**Must Pay an additional $150 per year (Premium Business) to purchase from Millers
2. Zenfolio has made every excuse in the book in support of this partner. I for one would rather that Zenfolio support their clients first making sure that they get the best products, best prices, best customer service by creating multiple partnerships thus allowing them to compete for our business.
3. Guess Zenfolio doesn't care about the monopoly The Holy Trinity (MPIX/MPIXPro/Millers) has on it's customers and is unwilling to create a more competitive playing field. (7/7/15)
Support Response Grade B+
1. I'm not faulting the support team when they are held hostage by the development team. I think they do the best they can under those situations.
2. While I do appreciate their participation in the User Forum, it's really not where they do their best work. The Customer Support Center has great support documents and training videos, email support is very fast particularly when you have a urgent problem, and Chat works very well (but only when they are on-line).