Messing around with travel pictures today on Flickr I suddenly noticed that their front page greets me in Estonian. No, this is not localization (they still only support 6 languages), just one of the randomized foreign language tutorial/greetings. Cute, nevertheless.
Weird how after that I have started noticing other interesting versions such as Lingala, Maöri and Tshiluba rotating in the same real estate. This happened only now after seeing a familiar, but surprising phrase there once. The same level of attention was never “bought” with the usual Hindi, Portugese and German greetings I’ve known they use there.
So… what? Flickr has conceptually changed the way people organize and share their photos online. That sort of fundamental interface approach change is virtually impossible without grabbing users’ full attention first.
Maybe there are more cognitive (not just functional) tricks around the successful web2.0 sites like Flickr that users even don’t realize exist, but what keep them attached?