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Zooming In On ClosR And Zoomorama

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To be perfectly honest, I’d never heard of Zoomorama until they commented on this post about the upcoming Web Trend Map from Information Architects. I was planning on doing a review of the web application soon, but now a new, similar online tool called ClosR landed in our inbox, giving me the perfect excuse to test both at the same time.

Both ClosR and Zoomorama enable you to upload images and transform them into zoomable widgets, which comes in handy when you need to embed or share very large, high-resolution images. The difference between both services is that ClosR is quite rudimentary while Zoomorama has added some nice additional features to the mix that complement the experience well.

Essential for this type of service is the speed: the time it takes to properly load an image when you zoom in or out should be down to an absolute minimum. I found that both applications perform well in that regard, although ClosR did feel a tad faster at times (note that the difference is negligible). Both apps enable you to zoom in on images using your mouse wheel or an unintrusive overlay, and allow you to switch to full-screen mode with just one click. Dedicated URLs for uploaded images are available for both, and there are plenty of sharing options available (ClosR uses ClearSpring, while Zoomorama seems to have developed this in-house).

But ClosR is quite basic, although it does what it has to do pretty well. Zoomorama on the other hand offers lots of bells and whistles, like for instance the ability to comment, favorite and rate images. Its interface is also a bit more intuitive and I find that the company made the right choice by using dark backgrounds for the website. Finally, Zoomorama also comes with a desktop application called Zoomcreator that I wish I’d known about before, since it allows you to create full resolution photo albums on your PC (Mac version coming soon) and enables you to publish them to the Web straight away. You can choose the lay-out, add captions and even insert videos from your computer or from YouTube. Definitely worth trying out!

To conclude: if you need a basic app that allows you to upload large images and make them zoomable, ClosR would be the first one you should try, but if you need more features and /or are a sucker for great UIs and social elements, Zoomorama takes the top prize by a long shot.

Web Trend Map 4 on ClosR:

Web Trend Map 4 on Zoomorama:

http://ak.zoomorama.com/static/onetime/zoombrowser@zoomorama.com/release/latest/browser.swf?indexURL=http://zml.zoomorama.com/1.0/legacyproxy/c72d023a682ce658a97aa8809928f2b5/2477f0e8b447bb6570493cdac464c41f/document.1.zml

I’m sure there are more web applications that allow you to generate zoomable, embeddable widgets for images, and I’m happy to learn about them in the comment section. (Zoomify is one of them, Zoomery is another)

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