Beta Preview of Watch 2.0
This preview is available to a small group of new deviants, as well as Core Members who were Beta Testers as of November 11th. We will continue to add deviants to the preview group in the coming days and weeks.
The heart of the DeviantArt experience is based on viewing and interacting with the art and activity from the deviants and groups you watch. Today, we’re providing an early preview into Watch 2.0 — where we’ve taken the activities deviants do most and built an experience geared toward exactly those actions.
Please keep in mind that this is an early Beta Preview. You are likely to encounter bugs and functions that are still being worked on.
Turn on Watch 2.0
(You can turn it off at anytime.)
Focusing on Art and Discovery
Watch is a feed that aggregates activity (like deviations, journals, collecti
I don't normally comment on any feature release directly in my journals. I prefer to keep them to personal updates, not work related ones. But I'm going to break that habit and give some comments and feedback on this launch. Why? Because whilst I like to jump straight into launch articles and comment directly on people's feedback, it is also super time consuming. As part of this process I see a lot of very similar comments. Some really awesome (both positive and constructive feedback), some frustrating. So I wanna lay out some quick responses to that journal which I'm hoping will shed some light on the things we're attempting to do.
WHAT IS BETA TESTING?Seems a bit silly to be putting that here right? Perhaps if you're already a BETA tester, but for those who have yet to try out this aspect of their CORE membership I hope this will flesh it out a little:
In a nutshell BETA testing gives you access to new features we're actively developing across the site. They'll be specific features undoubtedly shown in seeming isolation from the site. They might be a different color, or flow to what you're used to. They might be buggy, act strangely, or be just straight out broken at times.
BETA testing happens near the end of our design cycle. By the time you're seeing something in BETA it's already been worked on for several months and gone through many design iterations, evaluating UX flows, building out prototypes, creating comps and specs along the way before it's even hit the developers here at DeviantArt. When the developers have released the first iteration of the final code that's when you guys get your hands on the BETA release. This is the point where we want to test what we believe is a workable product. We need you to test it, stretch it and break it, only then can we make educated decisions and fix issues before a final release. There may be one or more rounds of testing. Things might change a lot, or very little.
Early access brings its own rewards, you get to try stuff before anyone else. Most importantly it allows you to MAKE A DIFFERENCE to what we're doing here. Your feedback at this stage of development is vital to us shipping a final product.
BETA TESTING IS PROBABLY GOING TO BE CONFUSINGWhen you sign up for the BETA testing program you are almost guaranteed to be confused by something. That's not saying you guys are stupid, far from it. More that this is BETA testing. Things are being evaluated. Some things WILL be broken. Some things WILL be missing. Some parts won't necessarily make sense. But this is part and parcel of entering into these tests. If you don't like these aspects then you're probably not going to want to turn on that feature.
The key to avoiding that feeling of confusing is to be objective, accept that it'll be strange at first, but after a few hours or days of really using the feature you'll understand better what is good and bad or just plain broken about the feature. Remember that you're actively helping us evaluate a new product and this is part of the process.
"YOU'RE KILLING MY MESSAGE CENTER"No, this is NOT a replacement to the message center. This is an upgrade of the Watch page. Your notifications and notes remain unaffected as does the watch element of the message center.
"NO REALLY, IT'S MAKING ME MAD"We're not intentionally trying to confuse/annoy/frustrate. What we're trying to do is give you early snapshots of developmental work that we're keen to improve. Lots of stuff will run slow, or not at all. That's the nature of it. But I guarantee that if you return in 24hrs those things will have improved. We received a lot of requests to be more open about new features and an equal amount of people asking to help us out. Hence why the BETA program exists. Remember that you guys are the lifeblood of the site in that respect. You're at the pointy end of the development process and are an important part of shaping how a feature ends up.
"YOU DON'T LISTEN"I hear this a lot. It makes me sad. Honestly. Let me state here, categorically, that we DO listen. We DO read all the comments and we do react to the things that are presented to us.
"OUR FEEDBACK ISN'T VALUED/WE'RE NOT VALUED"YES, yes it is. Yes you are. Why would we release to BETA if we didn't actively want feedback and constructive evaluation?
"THE SITE LOOKS A MESS/THE STYLE IS DIFFERENT"Because we're releasing features for testing in isolation the site is going to look pretty messed up outside of that feature. For example the header in the BETA is confusing. Why? Because it's really only designed to work in the new framework and outside of watch you're in the old framework. This is why there's an opt in/out button bottom left of your browser.
We know that the header is basically broken in browse. There's currently no sub navigation available if you have the feature turned on. That means two things: firstly you need to turn the test off if you want to find What's Hot, or Undiscovered, and secondly that no we're not killing What's Hot or Undiscovered.
The dark style that watch has is the new branding that we're adopting. Those of you who use the mobile app, or read the hq journals (or follow any of the active staff members) will be aware of that style by now. This is just the natural evolution of the site.
"SOMETHING IS MISSING/BROKEN OUTSIDE OF THE WATCH"Yup, more than likely. This is due to the Watch BETA and can be rectified by turning off the test when you're outside of the Watch. Any features that were missing will reappear and will be present when the watch goes live in the future.
"I CAN'T DELETE FROM THE WATCH"Nope, you can't. That's because it's a feed of items more akin to browse than your message center. Like I said, this isn't a replacement to the message center, it's designed to be complimentary.
"DAILY DEVIATIONS ARE MISSING"They are not present in Watch as it stands today, but if you look cloely you'll see a COMMUNITY tab and this is where DDs will live when we finally go live. They'll get their own promotion and we still feel just as strongly about them as we always did. They'll also still be part of Browse (Explore).
"WILL THE REST OF THE SITE LOOK LIKE THIS?"Yes, at some point in the future everything will be rolled out to this style. If you want to know more about what features are coming be sure to keep an eye on the Timeline.
EVALUATIONS ARE MORE VALUABLE TO USShort "nope" comments, whilst valid communication of your frustrations, are not all that helpful to me when trying to discern what it is that people don't like about a feature. Please please please try to be constructive and evaluate the feature before giving feedback. I totally appreciate that things will be confusing when you're first exposed to them but we can't help fix what's wrong without understanding what the issues are. Only fair right?
OK, HOW DO I HELP YOU GUYS?There's no strict way of giving feedback. However you feel you want to communicate things to us is good. Giving a constructive list of Pros, Cons and Bugs is a really smart way to do it though. That's what I personally find the most useful.
If you're reporting a bug (or something that doesn't seem to make sense) then it's also useful to us that you include your browser version and what platform you're reporting from. Not essential but helps us track down system specific bugs.
You can comment on the launch article, or you can send me a comment here. If you prefer to chat via skype, or notes, then I will absolutely take time to do that. Whatever you feel most comfortable with.
DO YOU JUST WANT THE BAD STUFF?Sure, but it's always nice to hear what we're doing well! Otherwise we might accidently remove things you liked unknowingly. Constructive criticism should be just that though, constructive. Be objective and remember that your comments will be read by a thinking, feeling human being (ie Me).
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I NEED TO KNOW?Yup, try navigating Peek views with your keyboard. You can go previous and next with your arrow keys, zoom in and out with the Z key and Fave and Save with F and S respectively.
OK, I UNDERSTAND, LET ME TRY THE FEATURE!Turn on the Watch 2.0 (remember you can turn this off at any time). Please try to use it for a few hours at the very least. Then please reach out to me directly if you would prefer and I'll happily chat to you.
Thanks guys, your time, feedback and help is really appreciated.