I understand what motivated WordPress staff to change the way the "gallery" command worked recently. The old "permalink" viewer was clunky and not intuitive. A few small improvements could make a big difference.
I've written a set of custom web pages which demonstrate the improvements I think should be made. You can view it at <http://roscharron.wordpress.com/silent-main>. You can compare it to the old version at <http://roscharron.wordpress.com/silent> (you'll need to click on the Permalink once you start the carousel viewer).
In brief, here is what I changed:
1. Added small but intuitive navigation tags (Exit,Previous,Next) to the top and bottom of the image.
2. Changed the response to clicking on the image itself from what it does now (displays the next image - unexpected) to moving the focus to the "Description" (the text which is attached to the image) at the end of the page.
3. Moved the information and links to a "full-size" image to the very bottom of the page rather than the top..
4. On the last image in the "gallery" I replaced the word "Next" with "Finish" to make it more obvious that you are looking at the last image.
If I had more time I would have changed the "title" that appears when you hover over "Exit" and "Previous" and "Next". For example, in my current version, if you hover over the "Next" link, it just shows a title of "Next". That could easily be changed to display the caption of the next image. Similarly with the "Previous" link and the "Exit" link. However, the links themselves should remain as "Exit", "Previous" and "Next" since these labels are more intuitive to the user.
Hope you agree with some/all of my suggestions and can improve the "permalink" viewer (and hopefully supply an option on gallery that displays the "permalink" viewer instead of the "carousel" viewer).
The blog I need help with is roscharron.wordpress.com.