DeviantArt has changed over the years since it first began. The site has really changed over the time I started to use the site myself, seeing the different trends, the energy, and involvement of the website. Lately, deviantArt has not been the talk of the town as it used to be, for many reasons. Some of those reasons are caused by self inflictions (lack of mobile presence) and other reasons lead to outside influences (competitors). As I read deviantArt's recent post The Shape of Things to Come, I couldn't help but wonder if those things are too late to help salvage the website. This used to be the mecca on the internet for finding new talent, and engaging with that talent on a consistent basis. It doesn't seem like that anymore.
Let's start with the problems within deviantArt. While the site was doing great when I arrived, I quickly saw the battle between those who wanted to improve their work and those who wanted to be celebrities. I also the front page of the website glorifying pieces where many deem questionable, and the constant bashing of others' works that were not warranted for that kind of behavior. It's the nature of the site, I thought. However, the nature of this site has inspired many others to leave and venture elsewhere (I'll explain that soon). Another problem dA was not solving was keeping the site relevant with the use of mobile devices. It is quite puzzling, that one of the top artist social networks does not have its own official app in the year 2014. While deviantArt is taking steps to work on this, and as they mentioned it would be coming soon, it's still giving a sense that they are playing catch up, not leading others. Many users, especially artists, use their mobile devices to look at brand new works, engage with their fan base, and even show off their work to other professionals and potential customers. However, unlike other gallery and portfolio apps available, deviantArt has yet to see how relevant it is to provide this outlet. The other gallery and portfolio apps are still improving their mobile and website experiences, and they are not letting up any time soon.
While deviantArt has been slow in solving their own dilemma, other sites started to pick up to give artists and followers better engagement. If you are thinking of Tumblr, you deserve a cookie, as this website took off without warning. Unlike deviantArt where artists can post their work and people can add the work to their collection, Tumblr offers that and more to the users' experience. Instead of submitting your artwork once, you can reblog your own work to get more attraction and attention. Others following (or not following) you can reblog your post to their followers, giving you more attention and exposure. The system of engagement is quick and fast over at tumblr, unlike deviantArt, and it offers more exploration in using the website or its mobile app. The app itself is close to the website experience, and it supports more and more reasons to come back to using Tumblr. Another website that is giving deviantArt trouble is Behance, as it also have an app (two actually) to showcase one's portfolio, and lets others know when they have posted something. It is not as engaging as Tumblr, but it is very professional.
When deviantArt started addressing the new changes to come to the site and the revealing of a mobile app, it made me feel that this site has finally woke up, but in late fashion. The new changes of bringing status updates, tags, and other tools, starts to make me feel they are following the steps of Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Only when the changes happen will we see if that is the case of deviantArt following the trends, or creating a new experience on its own. As I come to a close, I do enjoy deviantArt, as I have met many artists who I enjoy chatting with to this day, as well as seeing their work improve and inspire others. It is sad that this site has lost its charisma, and it will be interesting to see if these new changes will help salvage the site. I hope so.