Test Driving the New 500px Portfolios

I got an email over the weekend that said I was selected for Beta testing the new 500px portfolios.  Finally, I could modify what I wanted, move things around and build a fantastic port that would impress and wow everyone who looked at it!  The question is though, has 500px been able to deliver?

First up, if you want to build your portfolio through 500px you need to have their "Awesome" level account.  It's not too bad, only $75 per year and it comes with a number of other benefits related to the site.  So is it worth it?  I'm not going to get into the competition too much but I do have a list of features that I'd like to see from 500px in the near future.

The portfolio back-end is accessed from a sub-site of 500px, and as of yet cannot be accessed through 500px's main HUD.  I'm sure they will add a button and allow users to quickly access their ports from the "Settings" page or the Organizer.

You are given the choice of several themes off of which you can design your page, and from there you launch into the actual control panel.  I'm really happy with how they've arranged this part: you can edit the bio and contact info, move images around, and tweak the actual code (HTML, CSS and JavaScript) to suit your needs.  You certainly don't need to, but it's nice to be able to modify things like font styling if you need to match another of your sites.

The following features I like:

- HTML, CSS and JavaScript editing. Big points here allowing fine-tuning for advanced users.
- Simple and effective themes for less tech-oriented users. The themes are pretty good.
- Images displayed are crystal clear, very high res and look fantastic. (This is a double-edged sword...see below)
- Themes are easily customized to your needs. Within the control panel the photographer can modify colours for the background, text, and lines.
- Easy to rename the domain to suit your needs.  If you want timlingley.500px.com, you get that as a stock name.  No big deal, but if you want timlingley.com to be your portfolio, you simply buy the domain name and  tell 500px that you want to use that.
- Everything is automatic.  I mean that when you organize your photos in the organizer, that's the order they appear in.  The same goes for portfolio headers.  This makes it very easy to move things around and tell a story.

This is the bad stuff:

- You can right click on the images in the new Beta portfolios and save them.  500px's main site has a bit of script that prevents this from happening: you right click on the image and a little dialog box pops up and tells you "Hey! This image is Copyright Tim Lingley".  It is a mild deterrent, but it is effective, and would be nice to see implemented on all of the beta portfolios.  There really is no way to protect your images totally on the internet, but as the old saying goes: "A lock keeps an honest person out".   This is especially important since the photos are displayed at a pretty high resolution.
- Some of the themes do not translate well to different platforms.  I customized and built my portfolio on my Macbook, then loaded it up on a windows machine, only to find that the nice, sleek scroll bar on my mac transformed into a hideous blocky nightmare on the windows screen.  It gets worse: my port isn't really optimized at all for mobile devices.  I can't view all of my portfolio images on my phone because I can't scroll.  I'm not an advanced phone-operator, but neither is most of the rest of the world.  I need my portfolio to be quick, accessible and easy to use.
- The high res images do take a bit of time to load. I understand that there are trade-offs, but if you go somewhere like Scott Kelby's Portfolio (powered by SmugMug) it loads lightning fast and it's pretty high-res.  Let's see some of that efficiency on the 500px portfolios.
- I was expecting more themes for beta. This will come in time, but I think the themes could use some more work.
I want to be able to use the mouse scroll wheel to scroll horizontally through my pictures. (this one is exclusive to the horizontal theme) It makes sense that you would be able to do this since the screen is only as tall as the native resolution, and doesn't have a scroll bar in the vertical direction.

My Wishlist:

More themes.  The ones that are available at the time of writing seem like rehashing the previously available themes.  I know there are more ways to show off my photos and I haven't quite hit the mark yet with any of the 500px themes.
The ability for the portfolio viewer to buy my photos as prints. I think there may be a way to do this now that I have access to the code itself.
I want to be able to put a button(s) on every page of my portfolio that links to my twitter, google+, facebook and blog.  Everything should be linked, and not necessarily just on the contact page.

I've tried to cover everything I noticed while working within the new portfolio interface, and I'm sure there are many more ups and downs.  I'm also pretty confident that if I knew HTML and CSS better I may be able to add the features that I want rather than whine about them on my blog!  I'd rather spend time learning how to take great pictures.

Here's My Portfolio, created with the new 500px beta portfolios.