Just a quick update now that the new site is launched, and people are getting a chance to use the new structure a bit more.
Overall, people are loving the way the new I-Fri works! I’ve gotten several emails praising the update and applauding how easy it is to browse and submit images. (Not submitting images from iPads, though. We’re looking to the iOS 6 update to make file uploads a reality.) Those “easy peasy” comments make sense–pretty much all the changes were made in hopes of making it simpler for visitors to look through all the fabulous illustrations. I have to admit that I myself can’t stop scrolling, admiring, scrolling, admiring, clicking, oohing and ahh-ing at what our artists are posting.
One unexpected downside of the new design is a direct result of that ease of use: Now that visitors can see all this art on the main Illustration Friday site, they might* be less likely to click through and visit the artist’s personal blog or portfolio site to see more.
*I say “might” because I think this raises an interesting dilemma. if you’re an artist who created a work, would you rather have people be forced to click in order to view it fully, or give them a peek and cross your fingers that they’ll decide to investigate further? I’m picturing a physical art gallery displaying *my* work, and trying to think how I’d answer if the curator gave me a choice between having a painting displayed in the front window or given its own room in the back of the gallery, which people would only see if they came inside… Hmm.
Not that it’s particularly tricky for people to take that next step… Of course they can still see a piece they love, clickety click and be whisked off to the artist’s site to comment, rave, “favorite” or do whatever it is we all do when we find something particularly inspiring.
My hope, I guess, is that more of us will do just that: If you instantaneously swoon over something, say so! One click on the image takes you right to the artist’s page, where you can browse though more of their work and comment to your heart’s content. I hate to imagine our artists losing out on valuable feedback or words of encouragement as a consequence of this new look.
In phase 2 of this update, I’d love to incorporate a way to make commenting even one step simpler and add a comments function right here on the site. Suffice it to say, that’s a pretty involved bit of programming, and beyond what I could pull off (or afford!) this time around. If you have thoughts or preferences about this idea, please feel free to let me know.
So, to wrap up, I thank everyone for their understanding about this change, and appreciate all the feedback on the new Illustration Friday. To my eyes, and echoing what I’ve heard in a lot of the emails I’m getting, it’s working beautifully toward the goal of being what I always envisioned it being: A “participatory art exhibit” where people from all over the world can come and see the great illustrations that our talented artists create. It’s so inspiring to see that happening every week.
*One more thing: If you’re finding yourself getting nostalgic for the old I-Fri, and in particular the thumbnail feature that teased viewers with just a small section of your work, rather than displaying the whole thing, fear not! There’s no rule saying you can’t post just a thumbnail in the gallery, and trust that intrigued viewers will click on through to your personal site to see the whole thing. It might make illustrationfriday.com look a little less gallery-like, with tantalizing crops of paintings and drawings interspersed with the full compositions, but I think I’m okay with that. Especially if it makes the site more rewarding for our artists.
Thanks for reading, and