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May 24, 2015
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This is me

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!


is a master of sarcasm
United States
Heidi. Female. American. Tall. Sarcastic. Athletic. Bossy. Financial enthusiast. Olympics lover. TV/fandom fanatic.

I've been fortunate to be involved with deviantART from day one and have held a variety of positions over the past thirteen years. Today, I'm deviantART's Vice President of Marketing.

I graduated college with a Journalism major and Political Science minor, and enjoy all aspects of news and politics. I can often be found watching Fox News, CNN, or CNBC during the wee hours of the morning.

When I'm not working, my hobbies include playing and watching almost all sports (basketball, softball/baseball, volleyball, football, tennis, etc.), traveling, geocaching, investing, and trying to be as funny as humanly possible. When it's time to relax, I'll turn on the television or read a book.

I also used to run, which was pretty epic during its heyday.

Current Residence: Earth
Favourite genre of music: Christmas songs, jams from the 80s
Favourite style of art: Pixel art, photography, fan art
Operating System: Windows 7
MP3 player of choice: iTunes
Shell of choice: Lobster, shrimp, clams
Favourite cartoon character: Bobby's World, DuckTales, Bionic Six
Personal Quote: I'm not stubborn, I just refuse to settle.

Bolt Award

For her outstanding work with deviantART, Heidi is presented with the illustrious Bolt Award for 2008. Heidi is the embodiment of community spirit, dedication, and drive that makes deviantART what it is today. Her positive attitude and inspiring personality has been an influence on the formation of the site since the very beginning, and without her, deviantART would be a much duller and less magical place.
-awarded July 2008

Deviousness Award

Deviousness Award


Add a Comment:
TheCrypticCat Featured By Owner 20 hours ago  New member
how about you guys set up a poll first? to see how many people want the site to change. if more people vote for it to stay the same then keep it the same. if more people want it to change then change it! at least it'll make people feel as though their opinions matter. i know you guys are running a business... but please take us into account!
CelestialPony Featured By Owner 1 day ago  New member Student Traditional Artist
I rather like the site the way it is right now. I am fine with the changes, but honestly, I would prefer the site to stay the same. I learned how to get around Deviant Art fine when I started. For the terms dilemma, isn't there Google Search and a FAQ for a reason? (A lot of deviants seem to be upset about the change. Do you listen to their opinions?)
TheArtFrog Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Student General Artist
I agree with CelestialPony. Deviantart isn't complicated. Simplifying it will destroy it. I'm pretty sure I speak for 95% of Deviants when I say we would like to keep it as it is.

If you must make big changes, you could at least put each change on a poll first and send it to all deviants so we can at least vote democratically about the changes. :)
aisukurimoo Featured By Owner Edited 1 day ago
that custom box is you right now. a troll who doesn't care about anybody's opinion.
ponygirl0011 Featured By Owner 1 day ago   Traditional Artist
Please listen to us. From what I've seen there are very few people who are okay with this change, even less who actually want it, and most people don't want it at all! LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE!! I am seriously debating whether or not to just move to paigeeworld...
YS-Liliumsynth Featured By Owner Edited 1 day ago   Writer

:iconsaluteplz: :iconsaluteplz: :iconsaluteplz: :iconsaluteplz: :iconsaluteplz: :iconsaluteplz: :iconsaluteplz: 

It's an end of an era for DeviantART already, turning the once-great deviance realm of artworks into a "Z"-site facebook-wannabee.

Admins like you who don't know what they're doing turned this site into a place for kids and amateurs, moderated by other kids who called themselves as 'admins' and are entirely lacking what we humans call as "sense".

R.I.P. DeviantART, welcome "Z"-facebook-wannabee.
Shitstorm-LLC Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Hobbyist Artist
The Shitstorm Continues…
kibbyawesomeness Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Hobbyist General Artist
stop the simplification its driving me CRAZY
the-legendary-sword9 Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Student Traditional Artist
guys, please keep the changes optional, and do not remove the ''notes'' system, or at least let us keep the ''notes'' system as a mail-like, private messaging system.
astralIsopod Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Student Traditional Artist
Please stop messing with our site. 
Don't fix things that aren't broken.
Please listen to what the users want.
Add a Comment: