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Beginnings of Site Simplification

Wed May 20, 2015, 2:41 PM
Img-01 by techgnotic


It’s no secret that DeviantArt is a complicated site.  Have you ever invited a friend to DeviantArt, only to have them ask a bunch of questions about how to get started?  Or have you ever spoken with a fellow deviant about a feature you use daily, only to learn they didn't know that feature existed?  It’s our aim to make a new deviant's first experience as inspiring and welcoming as those who have made this community their home.  We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to make DeviantArt a simplified and unified experience and, as mentioned in the DeviantArt Timeline, today we are announcing the beginnings of a site simplification process.

In the coming weeks and months, DeviantArt will begin to make changes to the way things are named and where they appear.  Each of these decisions is informed by analysis of real member behavior for both logged-in and logged-out deviants.  Our goal is to present experiences we all love at DeviantArt more clearly and reduce instances of confusion that contribute to complexity.  Ultimately, this should improve participation from everybody — adding more favourites, comments, and deviousness to the site as a whole.

Cleaning Up Naming

A while back, we asked the community about collections usage.  In response, we heard things like, “Collections?  Do you mean the folders in our galleries?” and “Do you mean the journals where people feature a collection of artwork?”  These are perfect examples around how the naming conventions on DeviantArt — the names we’ve given products and features — need work.

DeviantArt has been around for 15 years.  As mentioned, the site is admittedly complicated and there are many terms, often with multiple meanings, that deviants need to learn as a member.  When we designed the DeviantArt Mobile App, we were able to essentially start from scratch and focus on keeping things simple.  Now it’s time to bring that same mentality to the desktop site by removing complications and consolidating site terminology.

We’ll provide explicit details soon, but here are some examples of how we might change terms used on the site’s navigation:

  • Favourites, “Collections”, the “featured” folder in your favourites, and +fave could become: favourites
  • Gallery, deviations, art, and artwork could become: deviations
  • Watch, watchlist, deviantWATCH, and +watch could become: watch
  • Messages, notifications, notices, hot topics, and inbox could become: notifications

  • Members, deviants, users, and visitors could become: deviants

Navigation Design: Tier One

When looking at our existing navigation, emphasis is placed on search, shop, and DeviantArt’s home/browse.  However, we know that deviants prefer to visit their messages, profile, and so on. 

Let's take a look at the site's most used features and functions, and see how they can be translated into a new, easier to use navigation.

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 8.04.02 PM by danlev
(Please note: This is just a representation for how the new site navigation could be structured. It is not meant to be a design nor does it use real colors. For now, we're only focusing on the placement of DeviantArt's core features.)
In the new header arrangement above, the logo would bring you to your watch, notifications (messages) are represented by the number “264” (not necessarily consolidated into one number), Notes are represented by “8”, search, and explore come afterwards, but are still at the top.

We plan on splitting Messages into three distinct components:

  • Watch, which is currently the “deviantWATCH” section of your messages, is content submitted by the people you watch. Since deviantWATCH is vital to community health and we want to optimize this experience for the consumption of deviations by deviants you +Watch.

  • Notifications will replace what is currently the “feedback” section of messages. In the future, this will be a more powerful experience than what it is today. Based on community feedback, using Messages can often feel like a chore.  We’ve also heard that deviants avoid checking their Messages because of how cluttered everything can become, so our aim is to make notifications smarter and easier to manage.

  • Notes. We have exciting plans for notes.  In the near future, we’ll be bringing them to our Mobile App and, a little further out, we’ll be transitioning them to a more chat-like system.

Search and explore also appear on the top navigation:

  • Search will function similar to how it works today, with an improved design.

  • Explore, which is currently known as browse (and the front-page), will include What’s Hot, Daily Deviations, Today, etc.

Navigation Design: Tier Two

Below is a potential second level navigation:

2nd Level Navigation by danlev

Our watch system is the center of the DeviantArt experience for every deviant and we want to bring it to the homepage of DeviantArt.

The beauty of this design option for our home experience is that these elements can be mirrored on profiles and have the same experiences. If profile “tabs” and home/watch “tabs” were organized in the same manner, DeviantArt would be a lot easier for new people to use. Symmetry would make DeviantArt intuitive. Today, we’re suffering under the load of features and naming conventions that create a giant cloud of confusion.

Feature Symmetry by danlev

We want to streamline DeviantArt’s naming conventions, so that we can present a profile featuring exactly what you are then able to watch: deviations, deviants, favourites, journals, and commissions.

Changes in naming and updates to the interface in this direction will not happen all at once, but will instead roll out over time. Small changes may begin happening as soon as next week.

Share Your Thoughts

As DeviantArt grows, we strive to find more ways to connect you with the things and people that matter to you most, but we're becoming more and more cognizant of wanting to simplify the process — so that we can bring you the best experience and do it well.

  • How will these types of changes impact your experience at DeviantArt?  

  • What other things can we unify or simplify?

  • Which site terms/names do you find confusing?  Which took you a while to understand? 
  • Post a status update about Timeline!

It’s no secret that DeviantArt is a complicated site.  It’s our aim to make a new deviant's first experience as inspiring and welcoming as those who have made this community their home.  We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to make DeviantArt a simplified and unified experience and today we are announcing the beginnings of a site simplification process.
Add a Comment:
sydneygremlins Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
wow well... nobody has found this. 2019, anyone? lol
shadhardblogger Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2016  Student Writer
:eager: I'm still waiting for the simplification to show up.
The-Kodo Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2016  Student Digital Artist
shadhardblogger Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2016  Student Writer
That-Tiny-Rii Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2016
Interesting, no comment since 18.11.2015 :D
LumeraLightstar Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
No change please I like it the way it is. If you simplify DA all of the stuff that makes it DA goes away
CraftyMaelyss Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2015  Professional General Artist
Hang on, everyone look at the date.

This was an old submission from May 21st. 
The idea must have been rejected if the website is still the same.
Truewolfwarriors Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I didn't even read half of this journal, but I can tell that is update is HORRIBLE. Just...oh my god, what are you people thinking?! The diagrams shown on how the new update would look are horrible and honestly, they don't look nice. Listen to the members that are on DA and unless you want people leaving the site, keep DA the way it is.
CraftyMaelyss Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2015  Professional General Artist
I think it's about time you actually listen to the DeviantArt Community for once. We DON'T want this change and instead of forcing these changes on us with no consideration for us, the USERS, why not create an actual poll about this?

This way WE actually get a say in the matter unlike with the webcam removal feature that you made available only to paying members.

With each new update you keep changing this website without listening to our feedback and you keep removing the features that were once available to all members and making them core exclusive after upping the price on that.

The more changes like this you do, the more you're making this website less user friendly so instead of assuming things, why not actually TALK to the community? 

With how you're going, you're going to drive away non paying members from this website and I am extremely disappointed in your lack of consideration for the community's feedback that has been ignored.
NotDIESEL Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I can't believe it. What about all of the time I spent organizing my favorites?
Homerboy4 Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
To me, this current layout doesn't look complicated much.  This new layout is pretty much the mobile app layout converted to the desktop with minor edits, but that's just it.  Renaming the stuff feels COD-like however...
I'd rather go Tier 1 for now, since Tier 2's looks a tad off from a lazy glance.

To the "stupid" group of users: Stop whining like a bunch of neophobic Layout Change Babies.  Simplicity =/= Less "fun".  Stupid group = SOME of the users, don't be like them and READ.
To Admins: At least have SOME way of listening to the community BEFORE you do something out of the blue, mmkay?  FUN FACT: There ARE people who have actual opinions, check the length and how considerate they word their ideas.
KuranaMinamino Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2015
I'd rather things stay as they are honestly. DeviantART is easy enough to use now and everything works out perfectly fine without an, in my opinion, unneeded simplification. Changing the notes to a chat box will just make things harder for those who use DeviantART for art commissions. The way things are labeled and the way they are set out is perfectly fine for most users and from what I've seen.... no one wants such changes to happen.
Teslarossa Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Fuck you.
Thomasthe747 Featured By Owner Edited Oct 15, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
1. This would ruin my DeviantART experience

2. You don't need to simplify anything more then it is already (P.S. Breaking the message box into notifications, watch, and notes sounds like the opposite of simplification)


Look, you admin need to start paying more attention to the DeviantART community and what we want. If you want to make the site easier to understand for new users, don't make the site "simpler" and more confusing for older users, try making a tutorial.
MagicalMirai Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2015  Hobbyist Interface Designer
Stop kidding yourself and listen to the :dalogo: community.
runningjet85 Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2015
Oooooo pretty colors
PeanutButterMochi Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Nah, this looks confusing. Just keep it as it is
kuriidono Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2015
Honestly, I'm more confused on how to use devianart more than ever. The only update I've liked so far is the group deviations being seperate from the watch deviations.
BabyAbbieStar Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Is the "Core Membership" thing supposed to be part of the so-called "site simplification"?

If it is, then I have something to say:
I think it contrasts too much with the normal deviant green color of this site. 
If you HAVE to change it, at least try to make it more of a dark green color, so that this bright orange doesn't kill our eyesight. I mean, the black symbols were okay before.
electricjonny Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
I have no idea if this will be seen, and I'll stress that this is only an opinion of a user here.  I am sure things are thought out internally and you aren't asking for ideas.

One major confusion aspect to this site is  Now I like the idea of (you can create or upload all sorts of artwork/writing, and sort of have it as a "in the cloud" storage space), but the major problem is you're focusing on tying it to dA.  The confusing part?  It's a completely different domain.  I don't even know if people notice domains here, like when they click a menu option and are suddenly on a different site, but it seems to me that you would be much better off if all of the tie ins to and how you submit artwork here were all on the domain.  Just make it or something.

Many people don't even really know what does.  It just seems to me, that you let people click on a "submit" button, let them submit their artwork and give them the option of submitting things now, or store them.  And having the color scheme of vs being different just adds to the mess.

I'd like to see that cleared up.  Submitting things here should be the primary concern, and things are rather muddled right now.
IWriteWeirdStuff Featured By Owner Jun 19, 2015
When I first got deviantArt, it legit took me only 10 minutes to figure everything out. These 'simplifications' look kind of complicated tbh, and changing things more will only make people more confused. Overall, this seems like a bad idea \:!
HardlyAStory Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Honestly, I liked the older version better for the simple fact that it was diverse from other sights. Like the comments below, don't change Da into Fb. It would ruin Da
for good. And please listen to them, It's about their experience.
IoveIiestIies Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
We already have a chat system though-
No need for the notes to become a chat-like system. What if someone goes to sleep and the other person you're talking with keeps replying with "Hello?" "Are you there?" and spamming your inbox?
Cleverpelt Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Please tell me you're kidding. 
RoadTripDog Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2015
dA staff and the consultants have really mucked things up.
Obviously, your simplification = convoluted.
Calling it 'notifications' is so FB-like, is that why you're doing it? Because if dA is going to be like FB, that's a losing proposition. If we wanted FB, we would go there, but we don't want more FB-like in our dA.
Please fire the consultant.
I don't want my group inbox separated. That simplifies nothing.
When I go to see journals, why are deviations on top? If I want to see deviations I'll go directly there.
What you've done is NOT simplification, which was not needed anyway.
No, forget the please. FIRE THE DAMN CONSULTANT!
Or if it is a dA staffer pushing this crud, fire the staffer.
Stop fixing what was not broken.
I predict that like everything else done in the recent months, dA staff will ignore user comments and pretend like everybody loves this crap.
Get your heads out of the sand, take the user comments seriously.
We did not need simplification, especially when it makes things harder to use.
Being a premium member doesn't have any advantages, is that the current plan, to get rid of premium memberships?
Keep doing what you're doing and you will get rid of premium memberships.
hi---bye Featured By Owner Edited Jun 11, 2015  Student Digital Artist
tbh no one likes the simplifications
NeoSilverThorn Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Look, I understand "simplification", but the bullshit you've done with the messages isn't.  I don't want my group deviations separated from the rest of the people I'm watching.  I don't want daily deviations in my inbox, I don't want fifty different goddamned catagories defining everything.

Either give me the option to set my messages up the way I want them to be set up, or change them back.  I don't care which.  But stop fixing the things that aren't broken.
Tytoquetra Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2015   Digital Artist
I think these updates are making it more convoluted and ridiculous.
You're not Google+, you're not YouTube. This site was simple before. The new deviants can learn to use the site just like everyone else. You don't need to keep catering to them.
I don't know what possesses you to think that these are in any way efficient. 
serel Featured By Owner Edited Jun 9, 2015
I don't have much of a problem with the different names of similar (or identical) things - probably because I got used to them - but I agree it might be helpful to be more consistent there.

Concerning notifications: I personally prefer having them at the top right, splitted up, so I can directly see if I have new comments/notes/journals etc. to read. I like it to the right because I find it easier to access than on the left side.

Accessing my watch through the logo is rather anti-intuitionally in my opinion. A logo should lead a front page of sort with easy access to the most important (general) areas. I rather like how it is now. However I would add a few more things like a direct link to the groups page or help desk.

The help desk/ customer service central/ status forum / suggestion forum by the way is rather hard to find and navigate.

At the end three more ideas I would love to see implemented:
- Sub folders in favourites: We already have them in our own gallery. Having them in our favourites too would be awesome. Here's a link to an existing post in the suggestion forum:…

- Status Updates separated from watch feed: I love watching what other people added to their faves. I like using status updates for small notification or letting my watchers know about interesting topics without publishing a whole journal for it. However, I wonder how many people actually read them. I personally rarely see them because I don't want to browse hundrets of deviations if I just want to know if there's something new going on.

- An easy way to "remember" deviations without having to fave them, like browser bookmarks inside dA. This would be rather helpful for journal features. Right now I'm sending myself several notes a day to collect possible feature candidates.
AranySzirom Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2015
I think the site's logo should be a homepage button (like on other websites) and not a link to watches. Watches could be in the profile section.
mylittlebluesky Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
YES, deviantART needs a simplification! However, changing the term gallery or art to deviations doesn't seem for me a good idea, as many people outside deviantART isn't familiar with the terms deviation or deviant, so it would be confusing for them if they are visiting one artist's profile in order to find their work.
Crazy-Cat009 Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The only thing I wish to have, is some kind of "Tag filter". I'm so sick of seing naked breasts and fetish art when I search for deviations of my favourite cartoon characters...

Making things simple does not actually mean "make them better". And especially this thing with "clicking on the logo brings you to your watchlist" sounds like a really stupid idea.....for me, the logo of a website always was a link to the main page, and especially newbies are going to be VERY confused at the first time.
yemto Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I don't know if you are aware of this, but if you search on "jar" you can get some picture of jar jar binks, searching on "jar -binks" will remove all deviations with the title/tag "binks". But with that said, I wish there was some setting which included those remove tag keywords every time I search.
legendofspyrothedrag Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2015
What kind of an idiot can't tell the difference between "Messages" AKA general stuff such as deviations, etc and "Notifications"? Really now?
No thanks. We do have a brain not-so-thank you very much.
hi---bye Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2015  Student Digital Artist
vexnir Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2015  Professional General Artist
I like the idea of notes being more chat-like. It will definitely be easier just clicking a person's name and viewing the whole conversation instead of shuffling through hundreds of notes to find the right one. Honestly, it's a pain, and the conversation system would make this much easier.
Herobula Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
??????? Didn't you guys JUST change the site recently?

I usually don't comment these journals, but I personally think that the site doesn't need to change again so quickly. Not after half the community already got used to the previous change you made (Moving around the submit button and username and all...)

I think you guys should start listening to what the community thinks of the changes, because you will only get thousands of angry users if you just go through with this, just saying...
WritersMasquerade Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015   Digital Artist
I am really not digging this idea at all. Why does this need 'simplification', anyway? Just for the new Deviants? Why can't they learn? It's true that things could be named better, but there is absolutely no need to change the entire site format! I, among other people, were quite able to pick up on just about everything this site had in less than three or four days. It's that simple already. This site does. not. need. any. more. simplification. The site is just fine how it is. Just leave it alone.
Why don't you just listen to us for a change?
Username-91 Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2015  Hobbyist Filmographer
The more updates you create, the website more look like a clone of FB or Twitter.
otaku4242 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
The more and more updates that come along, the more I hate them.
legendofspyrothedrag Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2015
The more dA's brainless staff changes stuff in this already-ruined site, the more I stay away from here.
*drops mic*

:/ This is getting annoying. Seeing the first site I made an account here gets ripped apart by the so-called "staff". Smh.
Xigbar-Kun Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Same here.
DregonGamer23 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015
i dont like it. I like old more
Xigbar-Kun Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Im with you.
TamarazArtz Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
I just read yr article so glad yr going to help viewers like me! I'm having problems downloading? Every time I try to download I have to open up we♡it add the pic from Devient to we♡it then close Deviant open up we♡it then download the pic?! Good Grief I'm exhausted LOL
I LUV most of yr Artist! This site is #1 for Art & info
Sincerely TamarazArtz ~.~
Xigbar-Kun Featured By Owner Edited Jun 2, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist

People new to the website need time to get used to it, not fucking home run the second they get here.

DA's old format was MUCH better than this one (kinda, the only up to the new format is that you can favourite and comment on deviations without clicking on them but eh)

Let me just rant a bit:
Messages (which is now Notifications) was the place I frequented most. Now, I feel somewhat different when I click on "Notifications".. It seems too serious, not for checking fun comments, or looking at some cool deviations your favourite artists post. Not to vote on polls with a happy face and read journals in interest. Ever since I noticed "Notifications", I felt kinda different everytime I pressed it to check the stuff it had for me.

As well as that, theyre changing the website with a simple snap of their fingers, instead of ACTUALLY listening to the community!!
Fucking hell, I might as well shut down my account if DA changes drastically, especially towards the leaning of "simplification".
Fuck simplification! Why do we need such bullshit!
What if a deviant, who had his account up for nine years, not going dead at any time, saw the site being simplified with a fuckton of useless and horrid updates?
Personally, I don't know. That person might as well rage, since I would, even though I had my account for only 8 months. Eight months was a long time, to be honest. On September, when I joined DA, it had a different icon, and I loved the idea. Now its railroad tracks. The fuck? Deviantart's initials are DA, not ZX!
I swear to god,  the saw that journal thingie for site simplification I seriously got so pissed off. Why the fuck do they need a site simplification for?? New users?? They can simply catch onto stuff easily within the first two weeks, discovering almost everything the site has to offer. What I would like for this site? To have an alternative of the older formats, the older styles, and the modern version being this. Where we can simply login into the other site and have all our info and profile set up, with all our watchers still intact (if they join THAT site as well, of course). As well as that, the older versions will have what they had previously. In my opinion, some, or most users would prefer this system (the one that I just stated) to the current one. I know I would.

legendofspyrothedrag Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2015

I already stopped coming here., a fan-made site, is WAY better than this clusterfuck (yes you heard me spyed . A Cluster-Fuck.) and the admins are actually doing their jobs and listen to the community. Here its the exact opposite.
ToddNTheShiningSword Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I think it's great whenever any website lets users who liked the old format stick with the old format, or make the new one only apply to new users, but websites never seem to do that... *sigh*. All of them- dA included- make site changes mandatory for your page, no matter how happy you were with how your page looked before.

I actually read your whole comment, but I doubt anyone else will. :shrug:
And I hate the new logo also. :dalogo: was better. :dalove:
Xigbar-Kun Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for reading my comment, even though I know no one else would.
I'm really tempted to make a site just about the old dA, (the old format) but I have no idea how to:
1. Create A Website
2. Get all The Previous Info (I have been here for only a simple eight months, so, heh)
3. Do any programming.

If only a new site was an option.
Im really frustrated and angry about this simplification process.
Its just, why?
Im pretty sure the majority of the community is AGAINST this idea.
About 5-15% of the community actually like the idea presented to us.
I mean, like, where did Fella go?
Havent seen him since early February!
Most likely, I haven't been lurching better parts of dA, but whatever.
I haven't really seen much art of Fella anymore.
The old format was better, as well as the old Fella. Next thing we know, he'll be replaced by some weird-looking, railroad track guy thing.
*Unnecessary Grumbling* 
dA is kinda getting more corrupt with this process; I remember people raging for an entire week, endlessly, night and day, about the new railroad icon for dA. Now, it'll be much more than that, im afraid.
dA staff should make a poll on whether the community wants the simplification or not, not just slap it on a journal, and say: "HEY! We got some unnecessary shit here! Let us just unload it without actually hearing your thoughts about it!"
Fuck this shit!
And to answer the questions about the "Share Your Thoughts" part, most of my thoughts are in my past two comments.
But, let me do it anyways:
1) What are my thoughts? I am 100% against site simplifying, but eh, how are we gonna stop it? What's done cannot be fucking undone, as it seems. The impact on me? I'd be tempted to just leave dA (then again, I have my Danganronpa comic, and have nowhere else to post it, as well as my other art, so id probably just rage for a week or two and rage some more)
3) I stand by answer to question two
4) I'd rather not.
Anyways, ill just ramble endlessly, even though nothing's going to change.
I just hate this process with a burning passion.
Ill be quiet for now.
yemto Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think the most difficult thing to make a site like that is to get a server which can host all the images, flash objects, and animations.
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