Whyrl (whyrl) wrote,

Why art sites suck

I'm posting this list of perceived failings of art websites to help brainstorm some ideas to overcome these limitations. This post is generally directed at FurAffinity, but some of this applies to DeviantArt and others as well.

Don't make me poll. For me, this is the most annoying aspect about the current generation of art websites. I'd like to see new gryphon (griffon, griffin...) art. Currently, this means I have to explicitly search for it. It'd be awesome if a site informed me when there's new gryphon art to be viewed. Polling for it is stupid.

Don't lump all images together. There are some artists I'm more interested in seeing updates from than others. When there are a lot of new images and they all get lumped in together it's easy to miss the interesting ones mixed in with the rest of the crap.

Don't make thumbnails so tiny. Most of us aren't on dialup anymore. It makes it hard to pick out the interesting pics from the rubbish.

I don't give a shit about stories. Most fiction on the internet is crap. I'm not interested. Same goes for poetry and music. Go away.

Don't just give me a list of titles. DevArt used to do this if you weren't a paid member. FA still does this with journal posts. I'd much rather have a LiveJournal style list of blog entries. Not providing thumbnails for images is intensely aggravating.

Tags are FTW. They make searches so much easier. Tags should have aliases (different spellings, related terms). Anyone should be able to tag an image, and people should vote on tags to give them greater weight.

Site banners should be unobtrusive. I frequently browse using my netbook, and large banners take up valuable pixels.

Site navigation. The main site page should be my personalised feed (eg. Twitter). I should be able to jump to my profile/settings easily from any page. I should be able to find any artist's profile page without difficulty. The navigation through galleries should be clear and logical (eg. don't show a "next 36 images" button if there's only 5 images in the search results!).

The site must be fast and responsive. Sometimes I click on "full view" of an image and nothing happens. Did I actually click on it? Is it still loading? I don't know!

Ads unless you give us monies (or you run an adblocker). This is offensive. I know sites need to recoup their running costs, but surely there's a better way. Value-added content for paid subscribers?

I'm sure there are plenty more problems.
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A safe for work/browsing in my knickers switch. Comes up Safe for Work. You press the button to confirm your connection is not being monitored by your boss's fundamentalist religious nutjob nephew who manages the office network. Possibly IP range defaulted, so that it assumes first view based on rules.
I replied to your comment in the mega-reply I posted, as it's a great point. Your bit is at the bottom of the comment, for easier scrolling.
  • Don't make me poll.
    This is an excellent idea if I'm understanding it correctly. Do you mean you want to be able to subscribe to automated searches on new submissions that hit your search terms basically, and have them added to some kind of queue for you? Doing this correctly will require some thought, it can be done, and it's an excellent idea... I'd mostly been focusing easier browsing and searching, so far.
  • Don't lump all images together.
    Don't make thumbnails so tiny.

    Lumping these two together as they're cross-related. Not being able to see the details of things because thumbnails are so tiny, which ends up allowing for 'custom' thumbnails which just makes things even less browse-able, is the core problem of both of these. Grouping options will be part of the browsing view.
  • I don't give a shit about stories.
    And some people love music and flash animations. Simple checkboxes for default file types to filter for/against on media-attached posts are planned for.
  • Don't just give me a list of titles.
    Heh... I was actually taking it one step further: Submissions and Journals are no longer different. Submissions just have a media-file attached to the journal, various metrics and personal preferences to decide it's presentation, etc. The specific equations/checks haven't been fixed yet, but they'll be based on the client's browser width/height visible on common screen resolutions.
  • Tags are FTW.
    Core design idea for this new website, trying to encourage these instead of long, drawn-out descriptions. And yes, users will be able to suggest additional tags and flag tags as inappropriate for a piece. Promotion game mechanics (game theory has to deal with griefers, it's just the term I use) haven't been decided yet.
  • Site banners should be unobtrusive.
    Site navigation.

    My personal book I swear by to this day as it's still relevant (thanks in large part to covering screens from 640x400 up to 1920x1200 when such were just becoming available, and the low-end still around thanks to netbooks) is Homepage Usability by Jakon Nielson & Marie Tahir. I don't have the homepage-banner logo at hand, but it won't be larger than about 5500 pixels total. And yes, it will have an option to be flat replaced with a simple text link back to the homepage.
  • The site must be fast and responsive.
    Heh... The Gryphon Builder website I built for LizKay is the type of responsiveness and loading-feedback honesty I aim for with any and all websites I code on.
  • Ads unless you give us monies (or you run an adblocker).
    I'm from the shareware days and I know that nagware never worked then. It doesn't work now. I didn't mind the previous-FA's scheme of 3 furry-related (artists open for commission, furry webcomic, new conventions, etc) ads over on the left side that were smaller than the picture thumbnails and well below all the navigation components. The new scheme made me block the entire ox.furaffinity.net domain

    The 'auto-search new submissions and alert me in realtime' is honestly one obvious idea that's justifiable versus, say, a daily or weekly digest of your automated search results to reduce server load by only running the query off-hours instead of realtime.
  • A Safe for Work/In my Knickers switch
    This one is actually also directly planned for the website as it is. You can attach multiple pseudonym/public usernames to one global handle, and rename them instead of having to get a new friggin' acocunt, switch between them freely and set up your 'default' pseudonym on login to any of them, and preferences layer between global handle, pseudonym, and login session so you can change an option just for one device without having to set up a custom pseudonym just to do so, for example.

    So, yes, if you set up your 'primary/on-login' pseudonym as 'Safe For Work' settings, you can set up a seperate 'In My Knickers' pseudonym so it'll be around two clicks (give or take one) to switch pseudonyms.
As for "Don;t lump all new images together". That's exactly what I want FA to do. All the new stuff from the people I watch. determine fast from thumbnails on the 10% I want to delete unseen, then open tabs and look at the new stuff.

I also don;t care much about stories, but some people do. *shrug*

As for the ads: Annoying, bothersome, but FA serves a lot of traffic. They're not going to make i t all up on T-shirrs and donations.

i could deal with smaller banners. Totally don;t care about the banner.

Sound like you'd like e621.net, offhand. :)