When I use the Explore feature to look for species similar to my own, I am often frustrated by how many images have diagnostic features chopped off by the frame of the thumbnail. Since I’m usually exploring lepidoptera, that often means wingtips are not visible—sometimes, heads. I imagine it’s worse for taxa that are less square in proportions. Of course, the whole image is available if you open the observation, but when looking through numerous pages of 500 or so species for a matching image, it’s prohibitively time-consuming to open large numbers of obs.
I have the same problem when identifying; the other day when working on Unknowns, I saw a thumbnail in which the only thing visible was a person’s legs and an umbrella hung over his arm. I had to open it to see there was a plant in his hand! This seems equally a problem for identifiers, who have to open a lot more observations to see if there’s something they can identify, and for observers, whose obs might never get an ID because their thumbnails look so unpromising.
It doesn’t seem to me this would best be solved by changing the way the site handles thumbnails; having a bunch of long, skinny thumbnails and tall, thin thumbnails just doesn’t sound ideal. I’ve been trying to make my best image–the one I plan to order first in my observation–roughly the same proportions as the website’s Explore/Identify thumbnails: a square (or a rectangle slightly wider than tall, since thumbnails on my phone are more like that), with the species pictured taking up most of that space. Using images that are less close-up, to be safe, can also eliminate the “cutting off” problem, but doesn’t seem like a great idea; even a semi-distant organism can be much less helpful.
Are there others here who take this approach to their observation image proportions? Are you sometimes frustrated by images in Explore whose diagnostic features are lopped off by thumbnail edges?