Apparently journals written in Eclipse mode do not transfer over to default.... weird. So I'm reposting this.
I want people to relax and breathe for a second. This is a beta test, okay?
It could possibly be just bare bones of what "Eclipse" will be, or maybe not. But the what is important is that possibilities are still open. Don't get me wrong, I will be just as upset as the rest of you if they entirely remove custom profile coding and embedding / etcetera. For one... many folks here actually paid money for written code, profile dolls, and other custom widgets /addons, let's not forget that crucial detail. And on the other hand even better yet, many Deviants here made their money by creating and selling these mentioned things. Deviantart users loved sharing custom codes and profile decor, lots of little things that made each profile personal and original. This is what made Deviantart brilliantly stand out amongst all the other art websites floating about, its customizability and personalization.
I was very excited to hear that Deviantart was finally catching up to the times and releasing a "dark theme", called "Eclipse". From my understanding, it was going to give us a choice to simply darken the existing interface of the website. And when the announcements in my inbox mentioned making changes to our widgets and features, I assumed that would be additional to existing widgets. I have very sensitive eyes. I use Google Chrome extensions to apply dark themes to my other frequented websites, but none did Deviantart any justice. It was simply too complex of a website to reskin everything, especially with each CORE profile being unique. It never looked right. Making this website a new uniform color is quite a challenge when most profile decor does not take into account anything else other than DA's traditional 'green' at the time they were created. This is a bold task for anyone to take. Deviantart is classically known to be affiliated with the colors gray and green, since it was first founded. I watched it evolve on my own account for 10 years now. And even a few years before I decided to register.
Making our pages original and personal, has come a long way. You've added features, and you have taken some away. You have also increased the subscription cost. You greatly increased the cost, took good features away and gave us little reason to continue being billed these last few years. You let the site remain stale for quite some time. But at last, it's getting a huge makeover, it appears. However I can't help but remain weary. I sure hope this makeover uncovers not just a few new cool useful features, but remains loyal to current existing ones we grew to love. Understandably some can not be simply copied and pasted over to 'Eclipse', but perhaps they could be adapted to at least call back to our traditional layouts.
Individuality is essential, especially to a website for artists!
As it right stands now, (and I repeat, I understand this is a demo) .... but it stands now from what I can see.... essential gems from our current profile options are missing. No custom boxes. No Image embedding. No custom text. No HTML/CSS. The widgets are even more restricted to where they may or may not be moved around. And Eclipse ruins other Deviant user's page layouts and their painstakingly crafted code / images.
This is an unacceptable change.
I kind of get it. I'm trying to see it from Deviantart's perspective. Maybe this was your intention all along. You want to put more focus on the ART, rather than the little profile tricks and ramblings. BUT... some users used the advantage of personalized profile coding to really bring the best potential in showing off their work, sometimes the first thing you see when you visit their page. One user I witnessed for example was creative enough to cut a deviation in half and then image embed it into their top widgets, making it massive and stretch across both sides of the page, dominating the visitor's screen. And that was amazing! That was wickedly clever, props to them for pulling it off, making it all line up right and seamlessly.
But I digress.
Perhaps it was just not possible to migrate these things into 'Eclipse'. I doubt that though. I eagerly wait to see what will be unlocked when we are allowed to edit some of these widgets in the future.
I'll give some honest pros I did find about Eclipse:
- It feels cleaner, I guess. less cluttered.
- Certain things appear crisper, larger, and more polished. Larger is good in some areas, awkward and barren in others though.
- I'm happy about the addition of page covers. It's easy to use, anyone can upload something to it. However, I think this is Eclipse's way of substituting for the removal of unique profile coding and customization. This simply can't compare. Besides, it feels a tad bit like we are crossing over to Facebook / Twitter territory here. Page covers are convenient yes, but there is sacrifice in our options.
- I kind of like the new way badges are displayed. They're less of a secret now. They're finally out there, doing something.
- I LOVE how you guys FINALLY made it easier to give llamas back, officially. Finally I don't need to keep turning to Tampermonkey extensions.
- I like the new popup summary addition when you hover over avatars and names. This has potential. It needs some aesthetic work, but I dig it so far!
- There appears to be no limit on how many different folders or collections you may feature on your page. I like this. But it needs a option for thumbnail sizes. These current thumbnails are HUGE!
- I really like the new 'posts' tab. This is a clever addition. Organized and attractive. A welcome addition!
- Statistics and what has been redone with it is a welcome addition.
- The font used in this theme is all over; attractive, may I point out. It's new, modern and easy on the eyes. (Apparently an uncommon opinion.) Easier to read. No more squinting. It appears cleaner and less smushed.
- Browsing my featured favorites has a very noticeable performance improvement. It's faster now and less 'sticky'. When before if I tried to browse my general favorites, it would lag like sin! Stop responding even!
- The gallery has more room committed to showing off the actual art, not constricting it to thumbnails that squeeze into small uniform boxes. This will take time to get use to, but I think I'll love it with a little time.
- The addition of comment likes are neat. Again, sort of just shadowing other media sites with this one here (granted late as hell), but it's a welcome and relatively harmless change. I approve.
- And what's this? You can 'love' devations? Doesn't having the existing 'favorites' kind of over shadow this? Meh. No harm done here I guess. It's cool. I get what it's for. It intends to function like Youtube's suggestion algorithm, accept with this you actually have control over what is suggested to you. I have yet to thoroughly try this out.
- We can see who favorited a deviation easier now, including deviations that are not our own. That's pretty neat. That's about all I have to say on that matter.
- Full screen mode for deviations was an unexpected but greatly welcomed feature! Big fan.
- I LOVE the changes done to the deviation watch inbox. This is greatly appreciated. I don't have to squint to see incoming deviation thumbnails now. I like how watched deviants and my watched deviant groups are lumped together in one easy spot now too. It's more attractive this way. I'm a little confused why I can't view deviantart announcement notifications though in this mode. Only feedback.
- Adding a thumbnail to feedback notifications is nifty. Sometimes I'll get a comment on something very old and have no idea what the hell a person is talking about anymore. Lol.
- The estimated time to read that was added to the journal entry creator is cool.
Parting critiques / suggestions / cons:
- I hate the right side of the user page change. It removed the perfectly fine, large image of our deviant ID. I also find it a poor move to make visitors have to click on the 'About' in order to read the flavor text now. That's silly. Nearly no one is going to do that. This feature may as well be removed considering this. Maybe this will be better when wiget editing is added soon.
- You can add your journal widget to your front page, however, you cannot see the journal's custom skin from here anymore. Or at all. That's a disappointing and pointless thing to remove. Yeah, it's more uniform looking and matches other widgets now... but, eh? Not a big fan of removing the ability to see custom journal skins.
- Not a big fan of the total makeover of the top left of the user page either. For years, that was where our tagline, name, age, years as a user and much more crucial information was. These said things are now rather stirred all about in different places.
- I can't help but imagine many users will be uncomfortable with pageview and watcher stats being in large bold font right beside their avatar, first thing you see when you visit the user. This may make some shy artists feel less valued, as these numbers are so in your face compared to the way they use to be. It makes it feel a lot more competitive to have large numbers by names (kind of feels like Twitter as far as follower count goes) .... symbolically measuring each person's success as an artist. (Anyone remember the fella emote with the sunglasses when you turned off page view stats? I remember that.)
- Clicking onto a deviation, I noticed immediately that descriptions are quite broken with the new unexpected 'Eclipse' format. This is kind of not too much of a surprise in hindsight when taking into consideration a lot of "plz accounts", emotes, and page decor was made with only the old format in mind. Tags for deviations are also too big and distracting now. Thumbcodes are still being worked on. Rearrangement of the layout for some deviation statistics and text is strange... but it has potential.
Suggestions for you:
- Don't be a fool and leave out page code / personalization. It may be difficult to include with a total overhaul like this that you guys worked so hard on. But it is absolutely crucial you preserve this long established and expected feature. This is what makes and breaks your sales for CORE membership!
Yeah I know, big surprise, no one cares about the little pointless forgettable features like..... clicking on a deviation and it's already full size, a small deduction in print prices. And the offer of no ads is left completely unimpressive when you consider the blatant reality that AdBlock already offers this, for free.
- Your reasoning for removing HTML/CSS from Eclipse is supposedly to not let the non payers feel left out? Well I'm sorry..... here I thought the universal point of the ancient practice of trade was to sacrifice hard earned money in exchange for a service or goods. When the name of 'subscription' first changed to "CORE", we were groomed repeatedly to feel as we're doing something special and important to the community. Now we're made to feel only guilt?! "How dare we have the audacity to expect benefits for our contribution to the website!" Seriously? It's not even a pay to win or anything, as has been implied by some users. The profile customization is just an optional expression. My image background in a custom box with different colored text is not going to 'steal' potential customers from genuine good artists! That's absurd to imply. If you are that concerned about freebie members wandering around Deviantart feeling left out, or "disadvantaged", fine.... make HTML/CSS customization free for everyone. "Issue" solved.
* Don't punish your supportive paying members by removing features entirely!
You'll never find any other company with a brain stripping away what is fairly paid for content from supporters, using the excuse, "Oh well, I just felt such pity on the beggars...." Dumb. Imagine an online RPG that removes ACTUAL pay to win content, like extra Defense stats, or Pay only Armor to make free players feel happier and fair? Now that is hilariously, entirely made-up fantasy! Never would that happen, even though in this case I am presenting, which people would actually have a right to feel disadvantaged.
The owners of that RPG would straight up tell you to "Suck it up Buttercup"; dare I add, with a shit eating grin on their face the whole time while counting their stacks of green.
You gotta sell that CORE like it's worth something. Don't put a price tag next to something and then feel guilt for delivering what it was worth to those you promised the goods to. Okay? Make sense? Good. _________________________________________________________
And a message to other deviants who may be reading this with seething hatred for these changes, or experiencing simple uncertainty or disappointment; This is only progress!
This is not a finished or 'set in stone' yet. Most of us observing Eclipse here, it is safe to say are fellow Beta Testers. We should all know better than to get so hopeless or angry at the drop of a hat over this simple demo.
Deviantart is asking us for our help, our input. Let's deliver just that! So rather than flying off the handle and typing one sentence in all caps about how screwed deviantart is, and that,"you're deactivating your account and leaving now".... perhaps you could at least attempt to express your opinions and concerns. Give constructive critique, like an artist is supposed to be familiar to giving and receiving. And before you reply with, "Deviantart staff never listens to its community!" Touché.... this is pretty true, I can not deny that they have rather selective hearing. It is a business after all. But what I can guarantee you is, there is no hope for change to be made if you choose to remain unheard.
I completely understand the immediate disappointment, when you excitedly switched over to the new 'mythical' Eclipse mode, only to find all the work in your page was seemingly erased like it was never there. Hours of careful writing, browsing assets, selecting, copying, and dropping in code / assets / link embedments, all that collectively made your page unique. Your own little individualized haven...discovered to be cut and dressed into a rather cookie cut uniform with one just one update. Some of those assets you may have spent hours carefully drawing and resizing to fit just right. And some of you may have even spent cash or points to have your 'page dolls', 'stamps', and 'icons' personally commissioned. You may have had "to do" lists in a custom box on your page.
It's a downgrade to see it all gone right now in 'Eclipse', I know. But there's still room for additions and improvement. There is potential in Eclipse. We got to give this new alternative version of deviantart a fair chance. I see some good in it. Let's not give up and throw in the towel because some of our favorite old features aren't present at this very moment.
It's tremendously obvious it's got parts still being worked on when you see "coming soon" sprinkled throughout the redone widgets. Folks, you should be at least a little excited. Change is scary, but let's not forget, this is the largest overhaul deviantart has had is AGES.
The excitement swells; will they screw this up beyond expectations? Or will they blow us away?
Let's throw this a few biscuits and wait, observe it.