The Guide to F5

A new version of iStockphoto launches this August. We are changing the basic site structure and navigation to make iStock faster and easier to use. It's been a year in the making. Around the office we call it Project F5.

Bookmark this page and check it periodically. We will post information about the new site as the launch approaches and keep you in the loop about what's new, what's moving, and how it all works.


Quick Guide to What's New


Quick Guide To What's New


Where do I...

Buy credits? The Toolbar
Help > Buy Credits
See my credit balance?The toolbar
My Account > Profile (Financials tab)
See my lightboxes?The toolbar
My Account > Lightboxes
Submit a Support ticket? Help > Contact Us > Create a Support ticket
See my purchase history? My Account > Purchase History
See my download history? My Account > Download History
Change my password? My Account > Profile > Edit My Profile (Right column)
My Account > Preferences > Profile tab
Edit my public profile? My Account > Profile > Edit My Profile (Right column)
Change my avatar? My Account > Profile > Edit My Profile (Right column)
My Account > Preferences > Profile tab
Turn on the Adult Content Filter? My Account > Preferences > Site Settings tab
Subscribe to the newsletter? My Account > Preferences > Notifications tab
Send a Site Mail? The toolbar
My Account > Communication > Site Mail
See the most popular files? Participate > Contributor Lounge > Trends
See the latest uploads? File type landing page > Browse (right column)
Participate > Contributor Lounge > Latest Uploads
Buy a t-shirt? Participate > Merchandise
See my earnings balance? The toolbar
My Account > Profile (Financials tab)
Upload files? My Account > Contributor Tools > Upload
Manage the files in my portfolio? The toolbar > My Uploads
My Account > Contributor Tools > My Uploads
Download iStock software? Participate > Contributor Lounge > iStock Software



Or, "Where Do I Find Everything?

The top bar of every page will always give you the same options:

• The search bar.

• Links to the different file-type landing pages: Photos, Illustrations, Video, Audio & Flash

• Drop-down menus for the new Participate and Help sections.

• The option to change your language.

• A Log In/Out and link to your Profile page.

At the bottom of every page you'll find a footer with a complete set of links to most of the pages and sections on the site.

Underneath everything else is our new toolbar. The toolbar sticks to the bottom of your browser window and will always be on the screen. We put the key links and information that you'll always want quick access to here:

• A fly-up 'My Account' menu.

• Your current credit balance.

• The Buy Credits link.

• Links to your Shopping Cart, Site Mail, and Lightboxes.

• Contributors will also have a 'My Uploads' link, and their current earnings balance.

When you are on any page in the Participate, Help, or My Account sections, you will get a local navigation on the left with links to the other pages in this section.

My Account

This section has all the options and information directly related to your account.

• Profile: Your public profile page. This page has all the tools you need to edit details of your profile and your account, including options to change your password and avatar.

• Purchase History: Includes your complete Credit purchase history and access to simple and detailed receipts.

• Download History: See all the files you've downloaded from iStockphoto

• Lightboxes : A list of all your managed lightboxes and edit options for them. Also search for public lightboxes.

• Referral Program: Recruit friends to iStockphoto. Get html code for iStock referral badges.

• Preferences: Formerly the Control Panel. Manage all of your site settings here, including newsletter subscriptions, the Adult Content filter, and your currency preferences.

• Communication: This option has a sub-menu with your Site Mail, 'Friends' (formerly your Creative Network) and any subscribed forum threads or Blogs.

• Contributor Tools: Upload files and quick access to the My Uploads page.


The Help section has all the support material you may need when using iStock. The first four items are for direct help to let you solve a problem quickly.

• FAQ: Lets you browse all the frequently asked questions.

• Search Tips: Specific tips on how to search at iStock and make the most use of our different search features.

• Site Map: A complete list of all the different pages at iStock along with links.

• Contact Us: This page gives you the direct information to contact support, either through an email ticket or on the phone.

We've further broken out more links into a 'Learn More' section, still accessible from the Help menu. These links gather up all the different documents and resources we have about how iStock works.

• Buy Credits: All the information about the different payment plans at iStock.

• Licenses: Compares iStock's Standard and Extended Licenses and explains the Legal Guarantee

• Sell Stock: Explains everything you need to know about becoming an iStock Contributor.

• Iconography: Tells you what all the tiny pictures beside everybody's forum posts mean.

• Legal/Privacy: This page has all the different legal documents we use here at iStockphoto, including the different Content License Agreements and Artist Supply Agreements.

• About Us: Some broad information about our company and history. Also includes links to our Press, Partners and Careers pages.


All of the pages from which you engage in the different aspects of the iStock community have been grouped together in the new Participate section.

&bull Articles: See the latest articles from iStock and browse the complete library.

• Forums: Join the discussion.

• Design Spotlight:

• Steel Cage: The Cage now has its own home, with links to the Leaderboard, rules, and info on the annual Battle Royale.

• Contributor Lounge: This new section gathers up features from quite a few of the old pages, including the Xnet blog and all the different Popular Files pages. It gives contributors quick access to all the latest news affecting them, a link to the Upload page, and all other contributor-related resources.

• Merchandise: This is where you shop for all your iStock swag: t-shirts, accessories and gifts.



The search bar is now up in the top bar beside the iStock logo. Enter keywords in the field.

The default search is for all file types. Use the file type drop down to narrow your search to certain file types. Check as many boxes as you like.

The Search Results page looks a little different now. You will see a box in the top left corner the says Current Search. This is called a breadbox. It always tells you exactly what you did to get the current results.

Underneath the breadbox are options to narrow your results. Anything you do here will search within the current set of results. You can add additional keywords, add and remove file types, or use the Advanced Search options.

You can always start a new search by putting new keywords in the top Search Bar.

We've also moved some of your display preferences out of the Advanced Search and given them a permanent home down at the bottom of the Search Results page.

Coming in Phase 2
This is an interim version of the search. Eventually we will move most of the options currently in Advanced Search out into the left navigation. This will make it much easier and quicker for you to narrow your search results.

July 29, 2010


James Leal-Valias Interview
Senior Creative Director hellfish75 takes us on an in-depth trip through a few of the main new pages.

In the interview you'll see James spend some time discussing a couple of designs. We figured you might want to spend some time looking at them. Disclaimer: Things change, decisions get made every day, objects in mirror may be closer than they appear, blah blah blah — the final design may be somewhat different from what you see here, but for the most part (95% lets say) this is the new iStockphoto:

July 22, 2010

Mikael Lindh Interview
To get a first look at the new site we went right back to the beginning and interviewed iStock's user experience designer Mikael (member foomcdoo) about how the whole project got off the ground. Hear about the research portion, see the new site map and a detailed wireframe of the new home page, all in a soothing Swedish accent.

New Newsletters
As part of the F5 redesign our newsletters all have a fresh look. The Contact Sheet, Tip of the Month and Hot Shots have all been tuned up and are on their way to your inbox. If you've got no idea what we're talking about, you need to get opted-in. Subscribe to our newsletters by opening your Control Panel and checking the boxes under 'Notifications.'

See the new Contact Sheet design here.

June 30, 2010

The first crops of the new design were spotted at

Join the Discussion

Read the original F5 announcement here.

Learn about Contributor Functionality in the new design here.

Image Credits
picture board by kevinruss