iStockphoto has redesigned its site to offer a 'clean, contemporary look and feel', and reflects more than a year of customer-focused usability research and design, according to the stock media vendor. The site was built using a back-end architecture that prepares for future additions including a new search interface being unveiled before the end of the year.

The new site structure has been designed specifically around each type of audience that frequents the site, aiming to offer faster, easier access to content.  A revised navigation scheme divides the site into three distinct segments: shop, participate and help. The work of exclusive contributors will be more prominently featured throughout the site via large 'hero images'. iStockphoto has also noted this will be the last version of the site to support Internet Explorer 6.

The shopping portion of the site has been organized by file type with separate landing pages for photography, illustrations, video, audio and Flash files. Each landing page features topics specific to that file type. For example, the photography page contains items such as the photo of the week, photographer of the week, links to photography and design-related articles, FAQs and the free photo of the week.

The Participate section of the new site is where the various members of the iStock family can congregate and interact. The iStock Forums, Design Spotlight, Steel Cage and Article pages from the previous site are housed in this section. A newly created area specifically for contributing artists, called the Contributor Lounge, is where iStock artists can get up-to-date news, keep up with trends and stats and access resources, including training manuals and software downloads.

iStock has also released an iPhone app that provides acces to stock media search.