Just a couple days ago I had been among the few users invited to beta test the functions within a new work-in-progress Shadowness layout.
The signup process itself was not too long and not too short. I was able to provide basic account information as well as upload 3 gallery pieces, a proflle image, and a small user bio. In a space of 1-2 minutes I essentially had a rough portfolio userpage set up, and ready for public display.
The first thing I noticed about the layout was the navigation menu itself which made browsing light and easy. Categories on genre and mediums have been notably removed and replaced with albums, which means artists have better control in organizing their work for viewers.
One thing to note, you'd have to type a name for a new or existing album or else the image will not show up, from there you can choose how the image should appear:
- as ART
- as PHOTOS
- as JOURNALS
Although it does sound discouraging that artists may have to reupload their own artwork, what this really implies is that they be more selective of the material they display. The layout of the profile pages demonstrate just that. Users can pretty much have a mini-website based here with a brief bio and organized sections for their work.
Things like titles and descriptions when uploading images can always be added later, the only exception being the journals themselves. The POSTS section on the top right corner allow you to edit multiple titles and descriptions on the fly. When you need to edit the image itself, click on one of the thumbnails, then on the image page click EDIT THIS IMAGE and then you can change it from there.
The ART and PHOTOS section may confuse some on a first glance, in my case I find it easier to think of the PHOTOS section as a place to upload personal photos for myself and friends.
And speaking of friends, the first one any new user will make at Shadowness will always be 7shadows. Having him on your list automatically keeps you updated on site progress on the official blog and other events going on in the community. This is achieved through the EYE function, or in much simpler terms, automatic feeds.
If there are users who frequent Facebook, they'll get the idea.
Having the EYE function helps you keep track of all the things your friends on Shadowness are up to, meaning you could read what comments they wrote on what and when. Users can be as social or reserved as they like in the community, and the new system takes that into account. Last I heard, stricter controls on privacy and commenting/rating moderation will be introduced, which is something I am sure many users will be relieved to hear. Another thing I've noticed is the lack of an Exhibitions section that previous Shadowness versions had. Instead there's a Featured section, which is more or less the equivalent of an EDITOR'S PICK in ImagineFX or CGtalk.
That's it for the first phase of beta testing for now, I'll write some more later on when I get to try out some more functions.