Just before Christmas, we quietly rolled out a major redesign of ArtStation, unifying the site design into a more streamlined and cohesive experience. User-experience wise, the changes are subtle but the impact is enormous. The reception has been excellent as many ArtStation users have found the site far easier and simpler to use.
Why a redesign?
ArtStation has evolved significantly. When we launched the site in April 2014, it was intended to be a website portfolio building service for artists. The community/social networking aspect of the site was bolted on to help with discovery of the artists.
Because of this, there was always a tension and disparity between these two systems. The CMS/website builder/portfolio management sections of the website were always on a lighter palette and followed the style of most popular CMS systems such as WordPress. The community section was always on a dark palette, appealing to the games & entertainment industry. We were always torn between these two designs and there were many areas where we could not decide whether it should be on the lighter design or darker design (e.g. jobs).
Studies had shown conclusively that lighter palette sites always outperform dark websites. But there are always exceptions, and our industry is a funny one working against the trends of the Web in many ways. As we spoke to more and more artists it became clear that ArtStation had evolved into a primarily a community, not the website builder it was intended to be and most people wanted everything to be on a dark palette. With this in mind, putting the community first, we unified the design onto a dark palette and streamlined the overall user experience of the site.
The result is a much more cohesive ArtStation and provides us with a solid design foundation for moving forward with our plans in 2016 and beyond.
We have revamped the Portfolio Manager into one that is more intuitive. We now display artwork in a grid. You can reorder your artwork by dragging and dropping. You can manage your albums on the left, and drag and drop items into albums. Within albums, you can re-order items as well.
In the old search system, we had a basic search and showed both projects and artists in separate columns. We then had a separate artist search specifically for recruiters which provided far more search capabilities (our intent was to charge recruiters for that functionality).
The new search defaults to only searching for projects/artwork. Results are displayed the same way as browsing artwork. As a sub-menu item, you can access the advanced artist search page and this is now free to use.
In general profile pages have been streamlined without sacrificing the information or effectiveness of the previous design. We no longer have the very large headers as we found that artists were uploading very very large headers which caused disparities when browsing artist’s profiles. We’ve centered all the information now for a sleeker and easier access.
To manage and see who your followers are, and who you are following, there is a dedicated Connections page now to do this.
Your likes and and collections have all been combined into a Collections page.
Removing the Beta from the logo
We finally removed the “Beta” from the logo because many parts of ArtStation have been in production and stable for some time already. For the sections that are still considered work in progress, we explicitly call out on the page itself that it is being worked on – e.g. website builder. ArtStation is and always will be work in progress. It will never be “done”. We’ll always have things to improve.
If you have any feedback or concerns, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Much of this redesign was based on the enormous body of feedback we received over the last year.