Eclipse, the New DeviantArt: NO

20 min read

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Ventus-Fall's avatar

Hello everyone!

The reason I am posting this is to give my opinion on the new deviantArt design and what this might mean for my future here on deviantArt.
This is important, however, if you want the tldr section or summary, please scroll down to the bottom (under 
Final words)! Thank you :)

I do not want Eclipse. 

I was very worried when deviantArt introduced the new design. I was worried, because I knew someday this was going to be forced on all users and a heavy overhaul to learn how to navigate and use it as if it would be a completely different site. It has taken about a year, but they are getting rid of the current design entirely to replace it with the new design end of May 2020.
The name for this new design? Eclipse, they call it.
And an eclipse indeed it is, as it overshadows the current deviantArt entirely; design, layout, and even functionality, as well as her users. It is a clear sign deviantArt does not listen to the immense voices of hundreds, thousands, ten-thousands or people using her service.
Now, do not get me wrong: If you like the new eclipse and even are able to work with it, good for you! Seriously, no sarcasm intended. That means it works for you and is meant for you. 

DeviantArt's current design is already been labelled as 'old' by those who are now forcing this new website down on us. Were it not with words, then with their actions.
I enjoy the fact that we can at this moment still, as I'm writing this, use the current design if we want to. No, not only want to, but need to. 
At this very moment nearly all comments I read on their updates on Eclipse (for example this one: Welcome to DeviantArt Eclipse ) is negative. I had to scroll through an enormous amount, countless, to see even just one positive reaction. Even then, the positivity is combined with its own critique of the new design. So far, from what I have seen, the positive reactions come from people usually who seem to use mobile or other small-screen device such as a tablet. Yet they too complain it seems like certain features are missing, or they experience issues and bugs in one way or another.

To summarise all the commentary I have gone through: Nearly everyone dislikes it, most to the extent of even hating the new design. Those who do like it, so far no person simply praises Eclipse or think it works to its full extent. 

So what's wrong?

First let's start to clarify something:
If you are a new member, that is to say you joined deviantArt after they introduced Eclipse around last year, then you automatically had the new design. You had no choice to switch to the old one, no way of trying out the old design. This is already very odd, as if new users are somehow 'separated' from everyone else in a way. That they aren't allowed to experience the 'old' layout.
Indeed, if you want to start forcing a change with the least resistance possible, this would be an easy way to start. That way new users could not form a clear, decisive opinion based on their own experiences of current dA versus Eclipse. 
It is therefor very likely if new members did have this option like everyone else, maybe they too would have a lot of distaste for Eclipse. Perhaps they too would enjoy the current deviantArt layout, design, and functionality.

I myself do not like Eclipse, and I was trying to find out why exactly. Typically someone likes or dislikes something for a reason, and as I began writing this journal, I figured out why I don't like it.

To start off with, I decided to see if the dislike for Eclipse was (still) shared, and if so, how many people liked/disliked Eclipse and if they vocalised their reasons as to why.
Various commentaries of different people sometimes include the following or a variation of it, and I quote but a small sample as there is really too much. Here are some of the more clear examples:

"This is not a good update; Its confusing and hard to read. I wont be able to use it, and therefore have to resign using dA when you force change everyone out.(...)"
"Can we please, please get the original site back as a layout option? I can't navigate this. I don't know where anything is. It isn't user friendly, it's confusing. Put shortly, it's garbage. I need stash. I need the old deviantart."
"I'm really not a fan of the Eclipse and I'm disappointed that everyone will have to change to it by May. Everything in Eclipse is too spread apart for no good reason and the new font in my opinion is hard to read and ugly. I am dreading the change over.  "
"I'm commenting again because I've tried numerous times now to use it. I physically can't. It's too clunky and too much of a mess. The infinite scrolling causes so much lag that Eclipse literally just froze up my entire computer just browsing through a few pages."

The opinions seem to be shared by smaller users as well as larger, more prominent users. Eclipse seems to really ruffle the feathers a large community on deviantArt.
There was also a significant amount of people who say Eclipse even hurt their eyes. This problem I share as well, but why does it hurt our eyes? I will get to that briefly.

It seems moreover Eclipse is supposed to be more "mobile-friendly", with the focus on a sleeker(?) design and how it presents itself on the phone. Sure, on the phone it seems better, perhaps even on larger screens, like tablets. It removes navigation via pages and switches to scrolling. This would improve things when you're for example on a phone. That way you cannot mis-click.
Yet on the computer Eclipse does not seem to fare so well for the majority of people. 
Why is this?

Now scrolling through all the dislike, there is the rare person who mentions they like Eclipse. 
Everyone has their own personal taste, so it is bound to happen there are people who think Eclipse looks good and that is completely fine.
So far, from what I have come across, everyone who has been vocal they like Eclipse, mention also they cannot find certain key things or that some things seem to be buggy or missing. 
This is an issue, because if you are to introduce a new design for your website, it is understandable that in the beginning these features might be bugged or are missing. However, it has been nearly an entire year that deviantArt, a large business with a massive website and millions of users, has brought out Eclipse, and yet these issues still persist or have developed in this time span.
It is unprofessional and with disregard to any user, fan or not of Eclipse, if you continue to force the new design on every single user when it is clear that, not only the majority dislikes it, but that even those who do, cannot say with a 100% satisfactory they like it, because of some very fatal design or interface flaws. These are not all "art" critiques, these are also about user-interface and other important matters. 
If the majority cannot seem to adjust to the new design even after a trial of nearly a year, then something is seriously wrong.

Furthermore deviantArt makes it extremely difficult to see what the feedback is of users, specifically actual artists (hobbyist or professionals). I have witnessed an overwhelming amount of negative reactions throughout the year and just now during my research, so is it surprising they still force this change. 
If the changes are made because the majority likes it, then I would like to see deviantArt's highly detailed statistic showcasing this what the love/hate ratio is for Eclipse. That way it can be determined whether deviantArt actually has listened to her users or not. 

Another short point to bring up is, if the option to switch between current design and Eclipse has been around for a year anyway, why do users need to be forced to all change to the new layout by the end of May?
It does not make sense. The option is there and it makes both types of users happy: Those who enjoy and can use the current one, and those who enjoy and can use Eclipse.
There is no need to remove either design.

So on to the actual design, one of the key factors of why so many people dislike it.

The current design, which I call current as I refuse to call it "old" or "out-dated", is -I find- practical, beautiful, and straight-forward. You see everything you need to, everything that is available to you, while it is also staying organised and un-cluttered. It knows what it is, what it does, and what it is meant for. It is practical.

The Eclipse design is impractical and to me is horrid. Everything, and I do mean everything, seems to be enlarged, and not for the better. As if everything is important, even the letters themselves which form the words of the navigation.
As someone who struggles with dyslexia, the new design is very hard to navigate, even if I would navigate by words alone. Everything seems to be bolded, as said previously: Everything seems important. The font is not only bold but the letters seem to be too far spaced out. 
Take the navigation bar as example:

Current design
dA-layout-current by Ventus-Fall

Eclipse design
dA-layout-eclipse by Ventus-Fall

These are just print screens (only certain things have been blocked in order to focus on the pressing matters). 
Now the width is the same, but look at how much space the Eclipse takes up just to try and look 'nicer'. It is not only the font that takes up a lot of space, it is everything. Everything is important, everything eneds to take up more space than needed.
When you go to someone's profile, you can even scroll up to see even more of the image banner, which may lead to hiding the entire profile! That is not sensible at all. If you want to pop out in the art world, you want to make sure you're always visible, not hidden under some banner, even if it is your own artwork.

Speaking of this top banner, this too reminds me of other, more professional art websites. Think of personal art websites individual (professional) artists have, or even ArtStation. On your own profile you can place a banner as well. The difference is, this does not take up the entire screen, unlike dA's Eclipse. 
It seems thus even your own banner eclipses you, the user, as well. 

Funny sidenote: While I was writing and reseaching for this journal and came to this conclusion, I noticed other people have also started comparing deviantArt's Eclipse to ArtStation. 
To deviantArt: Please stop copying other websites such as ArtStation and just be yourself. 

Another issue to address is that the messages/updates/note system is somewhat redesigned as well.
The first question which popped into my head when I wanted to view someone's comment: With Eclipse, how can I get the notifications screen where I can read my messages, like with deviantArt's current design?
Well, one or a few more extra clicks gets me there. So that's very user un-friendly compared to the current design. You would want to reduce the amount of clicks needed or keep it identical, not increase it.
As for when you do get there, everything seems to merge from one message or notification to the next. It is not clearly cut when the message/notification ends and when the next message starts. There are no defined borders around these messages any longer. This is clearly different from the current design of deviantArt, again, not necessarily for the better, unfortunately.

Furthermore this site was, I thought, very cool and innovative in a way, making sure people could customise their profile with custom boxes, journal skins, and more! Sure, with a lot of things you had to -unfortunately- have premium membership (now called core membership, this change too got its own fair share of complaints), but it was a nice, cool feature that nearly everyone would use if they had the possibility. It made your profile more unique and sometimes even easier to identify. You could play around with your profile. You could design it so that your profile could be more inviting to visitors.
That made it not only unique, but fun. 
It also brought people together: Finding out together how to make, for example, a custom box to show even more artwork or do all kinds of other nifty things. Tutorials were made, people helped each other out, spoke together about this, and showcased their own results. 
Such a change, to remove customisable profiles, is something that can be related to YouTube as well. For those who remember, YouTube had the option in the past where you could customise nearly your entire channel, setting a background image, customising the text colour, and any text boxes. 
Now everything has to be "streamlined", "sleek", but mostly just... boring. There is no individuality any longer. There is only the large, mainstream design that everyone has to abide by when using their services.
Both YouTube and deviantArt's real only customisable feature to show some individuality is: Image banner and profile icon.
So sure, you can set a banner of sorts at the top of your profile now on deviantArt, which was not an option before, but this not only takes up unnecessary space, it also... seems to just make things even less organised (see the image above). It is not a customisable feature, it is now a required feature.

Submitting artwork seems similar but has also changed. To start, the submit button has been moved from the middle (left) to all the way on the right. All the way pressed into a corner. No longer does it seem your artwork is the focus of deviantArt. 
To again compare to a website such as ArtStation: The submit button (upload button) is also on the right, but it is located right next to the search bar and left of notifications, messages, your profile, and so on. It is also not in the center, but it is also not propped into a corner.
Another classic example is YouTube, they also do not have the submit/upload button propped all the way into the corner on the right.

To give a visual overview, here is an image of deviantArt's current/classic design (top), Eclipse (middle), and ArtStation's (bottom) layout:
dA-artstation-layout by Ventus-Fall

So with all this, everything that has been addressed and more, it is no surprise a vast amount of people dislike deviantArt's decision to force such a huge change.
Next to all this, there have also been suggested changes by users throughout the time I have been on here and before, which are sometimes even widely considered among a large amount of users as a good idea, yet lack feedback from deviantArt herself and are not applied in any shape or form. Some ideas are very functional and definitely should have been addressed or even applied to on the site, yet have not.

To get a glimpse of the amount of preference for the current/classic design compared to Eclipse, one can take a look at (deviantArt) polls and the hashtag #stopeclipse #stopeclipsedeviantart #stop_eclipse_deviantart 
While typing simply the word "stope(...)", the rest pops up. The fact that this all pops up means that a large enough group of people have posted this word as a hashtag, and that the dislike for Eclipse has grown immensely.
As for polls, here is a clear example of how many people still use the current/classic design compared to Eclipse:… 
Out of 101 people who have participated, 97 have chosen "classic", and only a small group of 4 people have chosen "Eclipse".

For further reading on reviews on Eclipse, I came across a user (Senzune) who posted a PDF discussing every point of Eclipse already based on the beta from end 2018 to beginning of 2019. 
If you want to read it, you can take a look here: deviantArt Eclipse: A Constructive Review  
There are a lot of similarities of issues mentioned then which are still prevalent today. 

There has been several petitions started to #stopeclipseone of which, has been created only 18 hours ago as I am writing and posting this, already gained nearly 6,000 signed, which was raised by roughly 2,000 from the moment I started this.

Moreover, DeviantArt has already undergone several changes, some massive, throughout the years. I was not happy with some changes they had made throughout my time here, but the overall layout, style and importantly the core of the website remained. I was able to adjust in the end. Some features they had rolled out over the years I still do not know how to use or care for, but others do and that is fine. Again, the overall style and the core of deviantArt remained.
Therefor labelling the current design  as 'old' and acting as if it is out-dated is completely ridiculous, forcing this change as if everyone was "screaming" for such a change is simply untrue.

There is something said for both current (classic) and Eclipse. There are even people who switch between it, depending what that person is looking for, so it seems Eclipse isn't all too bad.
The issue is that the option to switch is disappearing, and with most users clearly not being able to get used to Eclipse, will cause a very unhappy userbase. Well, it has already happened.

Aside personal preferences, what I find nice and beautiful someone else might find ugly, the point is practicality. 
I have tried my best to get used to the new layout, but I just can't manage for more than one of the previously stated reasons.
It is as if the big changes which have been made are focussed on cosmetics, rather than prevalent issues, such as that the forum still seems like an unorganised mess or other issues.

Additionally, the dislike for Eclipse is not about disliking or even hating change. It is about that particular changes are being forced down creators' throats, that deviantArt does not listen to (the majority of) her users. 
Eclipse is, for a lack of better wording: Too new, too different, and too focussed on a particular target audience.

There are many things yet still I have not even addressed. To briefly mention, people who use deviantArt who are not users. So far direct feedback from relatives, friends and acquaintances have all been a resounding dislike for the new deviantArt (Eclipse). 

"Felt more... easier to navigate and all felt so clear on what I was looking for, you know?" 
Artwork and users are equally important to deviantArt. Thus the main issues should have been addressed. 
DeviantArt is a platform for artists, therefor keeping it fresh and functional is necessary, but the focus should also heavily rely on being unique and prosper individuality. The design overall has fallen into quite the opposite.

As for giving feedback, following deviantArt's own instructions on the update journal?
It does not work for me as intended, as when I click on "Give Feedback" the site simply changes the website address to:… 
I had to click a second time before it worked.
Haha, I apologise for laughing, but that is rodiculous. That's just another way to prevent receiving feedback: Making the site so broken people cannot give critique.

Anyway if you dislike Eclipse in any shape or form, be sure to send them feedback.
This is deviantArt's feedback form about Eclipse: 

I'll be sure to send this journal through, feel free to copy-paste parts of this journal or its entirety. 

To DeviantArt, Wix, or whoever is in charge of this website: If you do listen to your userbase and your fans, please, at the very least, keep the switch option between current/classic and Eclipse.

Final words:
(tldr section)

Due to deviantArt forcing a change (called Eclipse) I cannot seem to properly use for over a year as it is not user-friendly, this might mean I have to leave deviantArt altogether. If I do, you can be sure it is because of Eclipse and it's poor functionality as a decent art website.
I will be sad to leave this site. This place has helped me start up as an artist, to interact with other users, and to share and develop my artwork. DeviantArt had helped me grow in more ways than one. Perhaps it is time to move on.

Just in case, you can follow me on other platforms:




Twitter: I am also on twitter, however it might currently be a bit difficult to find me as I have not settled on a handle yet. I will do my best to settle this once and for all :)  
The ones I am switching between are:

Thank you for reading and take care, everyone.

~Solus out~

(PS: I clicked "Submit Journal" and it loaded the page showing my journals and this wasn't in there! I am so, so glad I copied this in a document elsewhere.)

© 2020 - 2024 Ventus-Fall
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Paultrol's avatar
I've seen a few people use the excuse "well the old dA is outdated" well so what? It's still good. That's all that matters.

Btw I agree with everything here. Nice job!