Well, this thing caused quite a stir! So let me talk a little bit about it – on a more personal note – and give a bit of rationale behind this style and the new features in general, since i have your attention right now.
First of all, a huge thank you to everyone who liked this, +fav’d it, mentioned it, and thanked me personally; you seriously made my day! And to those of you who don’t like it and prefer deviantART’s new design, that’s totally fine too!
Now. I don’t “hate” the new features
that got released just now, the navbar included. I don't think they will “ruin” deviantART. None of that nonsense. In fact, i see a look of dA that looks more modern, and i see a lot of potential. (The new Today page in particular is a godsend compared to the old one.) But i also think that there is room for improvement, and that’s the reason i made this.
I could have easily just made a visual suggestion, but instead i wrote this style – mainly because it's the easiest route, especially to iterate. Initially i made it only for myself, because this is how i would have it. But then i released it to the public, because people have asked me to, and to give people a choice. A choice that dA cannot offer, not in this case. There simply is no way to support 2 different pieces of UI. Not from a technical standpoint, but more importantly, deviantART has to have one identity, and stick to it.
Furthermore, i’m not asking dA to copy this exactly the way i made it (i’m sure there's plenty of reasoning behind their decisions that i can’t see), but i nonetheless do
think my points are valid – at the very least from an end-user's perspective; from a user who has been an active member on this site for over a decade; from someone who knows a thing or two when it comes to interface design. Let’s break them down, shall we? Message count and user menu back to the left
I read about spyed
’s intention behind this: “let’s group things together that belong together”. [source
] Makes sense, right? I agree. The problem is, however, that in doing so, you inadvertently made the message count a second class citizen, simply by “moving it out of the way”, over to the far right. Larger screens are quite common today, and the larger the screen the larger the issue. But even on a small 13” laptop it’s still not optimal. And despite the obvious problem (“the message count is so far away that i have to go looking for it”), it creates an interesting second one: With the addition of the Watch Feed, it appears that the Message Centre itself has become a second class citizen, and no-one knows if or when it will be removed altogether. (It has since been clarified that the Message Centre is going to stay, but still, that queasy feeling was/is there.) Slightly darker background and brighter text
That’s an easy one, it’s called accessibility. The navbar simply doesn’t have enough contrast to be comfortably legible on all kinds of monitors. It can easily be fixed by slightly toning down the background and brightening up the text and giving it a faint text-shadow. Which is exactly what i did. It’s very subtle, but the effect goes a long way. Mouseover effect for deviantART logo, Friends and Favourites links
If you know me, i’m a sucker for mouseover effects (also called hovers). It’s simple usability: if a site employs hovers on their links, it should do so consistently across the board. Why? Because when you come across one link that has no hover, the link seems broken. And if not broken, at least it appears laggy, because you were expecting a hover effect. In short: The site doesn’t feel snappy enough, when hovers are missing here and there. “Submit” button blends in with the rest of the menu
I do get the intention behind that one, it’s as clear as day. The button practically screams: “Come on, click me! I need your submissions!” And of course, dA without art would be no dA. The flipside lies again with the UI: the button is, simply put, obnoxious. It’s too much in your face. That’s why i blended it down. But there is a downside to this, too: With my style active you have 3 links in succession (Shop, More, Submit) that all look very samey, nearly indistinguishable from each other at a quick glance. This slows you down when you want to navigate this site. Unfortunately, i couldn’t fix this without putting a lot more thought and time into this. Tweaked Searchbar
The changes i made there are again very subtle. Basically, all i added was yet another hover effect, as well as making the input text smaller. On Windows machines in particular the text is ridiculously large. And bold. It’s not as glaring on OSX (fonts in OSX usually appear a bit bolder than their Windows counterpart), yet even there it was a bit too big for my taste compared to the rest of the navbar.
So there you have it, my analysis of the new navbar and my style. Thank you for your time. Discussions welcome