This is the place where you can personalize your profile!
By moving, adding and personalizing widgets.
You can drag and drop to rearrange.
You can edit widgets to customize them.
The bottom has widgets you can add!
Some widgets you can only access when you get Core Membership.
Some widgets have options that are only available when you get Core Membership.
We've split the page into zones!
Certain widgets can only be added to certain zones.
"Why," you ask? Because we want profile pages to have freedom of customization, but also to have some consistency. This way, when anyone visits a deviant, they know they can always find the art in the top left, and personal info in the top right.
Don't forget, restraints can bring out the creativity in you!
Now go forth and astound us all with your devious profiles!
Y'all know my dA activity phases in and out at highly irregular intervals. As a result, my profile is always comically out of date. How long will this poll remain here before I replace it with another?
So, the swirling drama around the Eclipse beta rollout drove me to explore it for myself. Below you can find my thoughts. Of course I'll be providing this all to the relevant feedback mechanisms, too. I will focus more on the negatives than the positives--because that's the more useful feedback, one, and also because I'm a critical person and it's easier for me to focus on those things. I will try to point out the good bits too. Many things won't be mentioned because they are roughly equivalent.
Initial Impression (aka TL;DR)
Strong visual upgrade to visual art presentation. Much of the vitriol being dumped at the dA staff is undeserved but not surprisingly just boils down to "change is scary". However, the "oh also" approach to literature is a big wet slap in the face to us literature folks. It's been years since I was reminded how little we figure. All in all, it feels much too rough to be a beta, and I am confu-sad that they rolled it out this roughly.
Navigation/Basic Site Function
Pro: Fairly intuitive. It's different, which was frustrating, but learning new things will help us all stave off Alzheimer's, so I'm not bummed about that. I imagine a huge portion of the hate is wrapped up in things being "confusing and different". (It was unintuitive for me to find my own groups, for example, but once found I had no problem refinding.)
Pro: DDs were easier to find.
Pro: Once I got the hang of textless buttons, manipulating the size of art was smoother and prettier than current. It made looking for details in complex art more pleasant.
Pro: You can submit fanart poetry to a place for it. As someone who has actually written a fanart poem before, this made me chuckle. (currently, that section is empty; it says "nothing is found by facets your (sic) selected", which is a weird ass thing to say.)
Pro/Con: Images everywhere were bigger. Many quality pieces looked much sharper, which was nice, but many smaller images were "blown up" and looked extra grainy. Very odd. Many clickable things seemed very much larger than they needed to be.
I'm not sure how I feel: They slashed out all the literature subcategories regarding tone/content. It's just the broadest forms left--poetry/prose/scripts/tutorials/etc. One the one hand, I really liked being able to search through those. On the other hand, we can make the meta adjustment to putting that in the keywords and still have it be searchable. And it neatly solves the miscat arguments (well, there are still prose poems, haha). It looks like some visual art categories were also slimmed down. Overall I think I am positive about this.
Eh: The dark interface worked better for seeing art for me, which seems to put me in the minority. However the light interface worked better for reading lit.
Con: Not much improvement to the ability to find art with the "browse" function. (By "art" here, I broadly mean "not anime tits".) However, having recently been digging up angel images for my (shameless plug) new In-Nomine-RPG group, I didn't notice any decline in searchability.
Con: Slow-loading tooltips had llama animations in them. I can only assume that those llamas made the slow-loading tooltips slower. It wasn't cute and winsome, it was annoying. I'd rather see no loading image; heck, I'd rather see the eternal flame.
Con: On a similar note, the browsing categories are called VIsual/VIdeo/LIterature, with a weird second capital that is not winsome and funky but just annoying.
Huge Con/Quality of Life Suggestion: Most screens had a header bar at the top. That was helpful for navigation. However, there were a few screens that randomly had the bar but no links in it, just DA's logo (and that wasn't a clickable link to the home screen). I was very confused about that. The Groups page was one, but also the Chat, Forum, Shop, etc. Some were extra confusing--in your 'message center', the Watch and Feedback subpages had the header but the Notes subpage did not.
Suggestion: Let me find a way to hide "Popular 24" from the Browsing options. It is always full of term-of-service-breaking pr0n and crude fanart. Never DA's best side.
Bug: When you navigate to Groups, the screen goes back to the old green.
Pro: Seeing my comment automatically included in the message when someone replied to it was a good change. I really like that feature.
Pro: If you're writing a journal you can switch it over to the status update instead easily. I thought that was a nifty add, even if it's not something I'd ever have asked for.
Pro/Con: Journals are easier to make, going full WYSIWYG. But they're also much staler. I will miss CSS styles. More notably, I will miss some of the options that you currently have in journals that I couldn't figure out how to do. More journal features are promised. It will be sad if they aren't actually forthcoming.
Con: Message center much less easy to use/manage. I am far less interested in a current "feed" than I am in quickly sizing up what needs my attention and what doesn't. The fact that every item was much larger than usual necessitated showing you less of what was waiting for you at a time, which is not good. I do not see a point to the "saved/removed" aspects of the 'message center'. (That is ok, though, it can be ignored.)
Con: Profile page was way dulled down. I have a pretty simple profile page and I was still bummed about this. Many people have amazing profile pages and I think they are justified in being upset about this. Custom boxes are gone. I could enable my journal to be seen, but only in a weird scrolly way instead of just the current journal.
Suggestion: In the groups tab, it would be nice to have more ways to limit/specify our searches so that you could actually find people that way. For example, ordering by most recent activity and size, or unchecking fan art. I'd love to see something that gathers "official" groups like CRLiterature into a big box at the top or a sidebar, to make them easier to find for new people.
Deviations, or, Lit vs. Visual
Okay, I've actually tried really hard to stay positive and constructive so far. It's probably going to fall apart around now.
my experience viewing a visual art deviation
First I see the art--bold, dramatic, clearer than current DA. I can resize easily. Social buttons (like faving or adding to a group, the latter of which was more intuitive than the current setup) are next, along with the deviant's name and icon, then a category and the Artist's Comment, then some image details and the usual comment stream. It seems like a good way to go through things--not much has changed but the changes are for the better.
my experience viewing a literature deviation
First, I see a giant, ugly empty header with the title blown up in it. Then I see social information about favorites, then a name and icon, the word PROSE, then a giant list of keywords, rather dramatically spoiling the secret in the flash fiction piece I am about to read. Then, the text starts, but there is no title--I've scrolled past it, so I have to roll back up and check on the title. By the time I actually start reading the piece, I am distracted by the crudely drawn naked woman pictured to the right--because selected "Popular 24 hrs" images are there. I go back to the previous visual art deviation--they're there, too, but because the art came first, they're down by the comments, much easier to ignore. I go back to the literature deviation, looking for the Artist's Comment. It's not there. I can't find it anywhere, no matter which unlabeled icon buttons I click.
my experience adding a test literature deviation
First off, I click "submit deviation", because that's what I'm going to do. It shows me some Sta.sh images, but I know from LiliWrites that Sta.sh won't be supported, so I look for the text box. It's not there. I can open an old Sta.sh guy and then edit it towards a test, but that's not ideal. I back out and try again. This time, I realize that under "Submit", Literature is its own section. That's right: literature submits aren't deviations, y'all. But I click it. It takes me to a screen that looks exactly like the journal submit page, down to "share what's on your mind". Ok, thanks, I guess, I'll just update y'all with this metrically taut poem I labored hours over, just like I do on Facebook. I copy text over and go to fill out the various boxes. I'm relieved to note that my usual options are still there--site members only, etc. There are new options, to add a subject and/or location for the deviation. I don't really care about that, but I like reading information in artist's comments, so I can get behind prompting people for more info. Then I remember that I couldn't see the Artist's Comment. Then the white hot rage takes over and I yell at my husband to get me another beer.
Conclusion, or, Let's Talk For Real, Y'all
Popular 24 hrs: I am flabbergasted by this being automatically put on deviations. For years, I have regularly looked at this page (when you navigate to Browse, you have to see it now even if you avert your eyes like you're in a swordfight with the Medusa while clicking toward whatever you actually want to browse). Invariably, it has 1-2 really cool images, 2-4 appalling anime/cartoony bimbos that look like a neckbeard's wetdream, 1-4 nudes of varying quality, 3-6 crude pieces of fanart (always 1 My Little Pony, somehow), 2-4 pieces of amateur quality trying to depict one of the above, and 1-3 pieces of amateur quality that are earnest attempts at art. It has never not been that bad. I don't know who looked at that and said, "we should put those everywhere". I remember the outcry from visual artists who hated the way they couldn't keep people from Favoriting their art and arranging Favorites galleries with no consent from the artist--this is so much worse. Please kill this feature.
Disrespect to literature: I know we're not important to DA by the numbers. And I know that quality of life fixtures for us are in the works. But it's hard not to be insulted by being spurned in the big release. "Here's the cool new look," we hear; then, "but not for you--we'll get to you eventually, once you wait your turn."
Overall: I'm unimpressed and a tad annoyed. The site looks better--which I like. But the loss of function in customized journals and profile pages is a pretty heavy price to pay for that. There are bugs--I saw a lot more green pages than I thought I would--and some features seem missing or underutilized. And literature functionality is degraded. Overall it feels closer to an alpha release (though it is more functional than an alpha release). I don't hate change for making things unfamiliar, but it's hard to be excited about this kind of trade-off. I don't want to just sit here and gripe about the site's hardworking admin team--they are trying to make things better, and I value them for that. That's why I'll be sending these comments to the relevant feedback mechanisms. But as it stands now, Eclipse has a long way to go.
Current Residence: Mojave Desert Wallpaper of choice: "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman Personal Quote: "Every day in which you learn something is not a complete waste." --the Belgariad
Favorite visual artistChroma the GreatFavorite moviesClueFavorite gamesHeroes of Might and Magic II: The Price of LoyaltyFavorite gaming platformPCTools of the TradeBrandy, Bitters, Simple Syrup, muddled fruit, and a dash of Sprite
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