FN v1.8 is now live!

Hello, everybody!

Our developers have been hard at work making changes to the site. Some of these changes are mostly visual, but there are a few I want to highlight that will make a huge difference.

Featured Submissions

Featured submissions will now appear on the right side of the home page. These are hand chosen by staff, so we’ll be working to try and have a variety of styles featured throughout the upcoming weeks. We especially hope this can help upcoming creators get more attention on the site.

In addition, the home page now contains Recent Submissions. This is a feed that shows a timeline of submissions from people you’ve followed. If you don’t follow many users at this point, recent popular submissions from the site will also appear here. If you prefer the option to view and clear out submissions you’ve already seen, we also have the Inbox option listed in the left menu of the home page.

One issue we wanted to tackle with this update is the difficulty of finding new content creators on the site. Because of this, we now have Promotes Galleries on every user’s page. This appears on the left hand side of all users’ profiles, and it lists all promoted content starting from most recent. In addition, users can now add a Promotes Section on their own profile page if they visually want to show off what they’ve promoted.

At this point, we’re going to work on tweaking some bugs on the site as well as finishing up the commission tool. As we do this, we welcome anyone with feedback to post on our support site. We’re excited for what the next weeks bring!

Digby

Change Log

  • Recent Submissions. View recent submission from users you follow by submission type on the homepage. This is the equivalent of the “Following” section on the current homepage, but in gallery form.
  • Keep fresh content on the homepage gallery. If a user doesn’t follow very many characters, or the people they’re following aren’t posting frequently, items published by anyone within the last day with at least two promotes will help populate the gallery.
  • Left sidebar. In the left sidebar of the homepage, there now exists a section called “Your Community” with links to Home, Activity History, Inbox and Favorites. The second section, “Your Profile”, contains links to edit your profile, manage submissions, import data and commissions.
  • Right sidebar. The right sidebar displays four featured commission artists with a “view more” link to the Commissions landing page. Below featured artists there are sections for featured media type of the day for Artwork, Photos, Stories, and Multimedia.
  • Featured content. The featured content in the right sidebar can be set by an admin.
  • Added promotes section/gallery on each user’s profile. A link exists in the left nav menu of a user’s profile that allows you to view their promotes.
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Interview – AilurusMursus

Hello, everyone!

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As we’re working towards some large changes to the commission system, I wanted to take a little time and talk about some of our users and testers. I had the lucky opportunity to interview with AilurusMursus. She’s been highly active on Twitter, and she’s been posting furry artwork since 2014. Her artwork, beginning with a sketch style, has blossomed into a variety of types including digital and traditional media. She is open for commissions on Furry Network, so feel free to go get some great art!

It’s great to have you! Tell us a little about yourself – passions, hobbies, and perhaps a little background.

Hi! Well, I’m Scarlet the red panda. I go online by AilurusMursus in most places, though you may know me from other places as LadyScarlet (Like on FN!) or perhaps CrazyZombie. I’ve been dedicated to producing anthro artwork for over 4 years now, although I’ve considered myself an artist since I was twelve! While I started a pencil artist, I now make artwork in a multitude of forms: paint, digital work, crafts, merchandise, animation, comics and etc. and etc. If it’s crafty, you bet I’ll be making it! (And it’s probably going to be red panda themed!)

8c06023441bffd8d84de2395e8577a19.pngI’m curious about your name. I know that Ailurus fulgens is the scientific name for the red panda, but I’m unsure where “Mursus” comes from. How did you come up with your name?

Ahaa, I knew the day would come I get asked about this! It actually goes along the same lines as the first portion. The Mursus is actually a combination of two other scientific names: Ursus, for bear, and Muridae (the ‘Mur’) which is a family for rodents. I recently made a personal choice to add some anatomical influence from bears and a bit of dormouse into my red panda fursona, Scarlet. So in essence, the whole username is scientific reference to, well, me! (That, and I just REALLY love science!)

I’m going to be honest – red pandas are absolutely adorable, and I’m not obliged to say that even though I married one. What drew you to red pandas the most?

I learned of them a few years ago and honestly the second I experienced them, the connection was instantaneous. The initial reaction was, of course, they’re my favorite color, always a plus! That and, as you said, they’re just so dang adorable! When you look deeper at them, however, they have such a unique personality as a species, and their anatomy fits features I enjoy so well. Very bear-like, cat-like, raccoon like, but somehow they still put their own spin on it. Really, they’re just a species I’ve found I deeply connect with, and sometimes that can be inexplicable. I honestly could never see myself as anything but one.

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What I love about watching your art on Furry Network is seeing the variety of art. You’ve done traditional painting, sketches, digital art, and lapel pins, and that’s all just in the past month! What keeps you creating with these different types? What do you end up loving the most?

Completely honest? The biggest reason is I find myself feeling very stagnated and expended if I settle into a medium too long. It gets me anxious. When I work in one medium too long, there gets to a point where I can physically feel the drop off, sorta like I’ve used up my fuel for that and if I keep going, my art is going to show that. So I pick up something else to keep the momentum going. It’s refreshing to change things up. However, one thing that takes me the longest to hit that point – and I often try to deny that I need to take a break from – will always be plain old traditional sketching. Pencil on paper, my favorite c:

05737cc05f248144dc355f5b4818a2a6Right now, I believe you’re open for commissions. What part of the commission process is the most fun for you?

To go along with the above, definitely the sketching! I really love the start where you’re messing around with poses, seeing your options, trying to get that initial imagery to fit your commissioners descriptions! And they’re always so moldable. Oh that arm didn’t come out right? Re-done! Commissioner would like to change the outfit? Just some quick extra sketching! I tend to sketch pretty quick too, so it’s extra rewarding in that aspect as well!

Furry Network v1.6 Released

Hello, everyone!

Furry Network v1.6 is now live! This one is a big one – the layout has changed significantly, especially for the different gallery pages.

gallery change 1

Navigation has been confusing for some users, so we worked on making it easier to follow. The different site galleries are available at the top, and the various filters appear directly under those. In addition, the upload button has moved to an icon in the top-right of the screen.

We’ve also had some large changes with the formatting of the profile. All menu options are at the left of the profile, and every profile page has the same general format – no more reloading the page when switching between users’ profile, gallery, and activity.

We have a handful of other changes with this, as well. We are also more than happy to hear if users encounter new bugs on our support site.

Here’s the full log.

Change Log

  1. Updated character profile and submission gallery layouts. The character banner and sidebar are now visible for all character-specific views, profile nav between different sections are all consolidated in the sidebar (dropdown on mobile), media submission pages now resemble the gallery pages, with sorting options and tag filters.
  2. Updated mobile gallery filter view. The filter modal has been updated and now opens/closes via a button at the top of the page on mobile.
  3. Updated gallery grid view layout. Gallery views have been updated to match the new layout, with nav and filtering moved to the top below the header.
  4. Updated the header to the new layout. The new header now links to galleries for the various content types and to commissions. On mobile, the nav is now in a hamburger menu in the top right of the page.
  5. “Commissions” option now links to /community/accepting-commissions/ until we implement the new Commissions section.

Known Issues With Release

  1. The left margin is smaller than the right margin on various screens. This is especially noticeable on mobile.
  2. Images are larger than before on mobile. We plan on shrinking them back down.

Upcoming Plans for Releases

  1. Implement new commission system.
  2. Additional improvements to the profile page.
  3. Add review system for commissions.
  4. Create a dynamic home page for users.
  5. Create a customizable price sheet page.

Thank you all for your excitement! We are ready to charge forward and finish the commission system in the coming months.

Digby

Commission Page Designs

Hello, everyone!

We’re currently wrapping up development for some changes that will improve navigation on Furry Network, and we’re gearing up to work on the commission system. One major part of this is the price sheet. Until now, the fandom has generally had large, static images showing prices and art types. This has worked fairly well, but it comes with complications – updating the sheets can be a pain, and side projects can have their own information aside from the price sheet.

We’ve worked on a system that captures the purpose of the price sheet while standardizing the look and feel – this way, sections can be updated quicker, and sellers won’t have to reinvent the wheel every time they create something new.

Commission option 1.PNG

All designs are subject to change, of course, but we’ve created a section for users to browse through the different categories available from an artist. The highlighted image is chosen by the user from their portfolio, and clicking on that specific commission type will take you to a page with more information (and more pictures).

We’ve also looked at an option for putting all the information on one page; the main issue that we found, though, was that viewers tended to get bogged down on the information. They would prefer to read the information for the commission type that interests them.

What do you think? Is there anything else that you’d personally add? Anything that you’d change? Let us know!

As always, thank you for your excitement as we work towards finalizing site features.

Digby

FN v1.5.0 Release and Change Log

Hello, everyone!

We had a small update today for Furry Network regarding administration broadcasts. Staff may now occasionally send an update across Furry Network that can be dismissed from the home page.

Next week, we will hopefully have an update regarding navigation changes – this will both improve the current layout of the site and prepare for the upcoming commission changes.

Change Log

  • Added markdown in broadcasts/announcements
  • Added broadcast/announcement dismiss button on the notifications page
  • Updated helper text for the notifications section on the homepage to include info on FN broadcasts/announcements
  • Updated date and time formats in the tooltip for Broadcasts
  • Design polish and tweaks for announcements

FN v1.4.0 Release and Change Log

Hello, everyone!

As we work towards commission changes, we had several smaller issues needing to be cleared up. One of the larger changes deals with announcements; site admins can now send an announcement to all users on the site. The notification can be dismissed in the “What’s New” feed. If we have any important or urgent news, we’ll send a notification through that system.

The next update is expected to make improvements to site navigation. We’ll also be laying the groundwork for some large changes with the commission system.

Change Log

  • Site status announcements can be added by admins. These announcements will appear on all users’ timelines and can be dismissed like other newsfeed items.
  • Added a flag reason of “Suspected Plagiarism.”
  • MP3s with ID3 tags can be uploaded.
  • Restricted medium options in request commission modal to the artist’s selected mediums.
  • NSFW pricesheets now display by default when viewer has mature/explicit filters set.
  • Fix to immediately crop uploaded images to the various required sizes.
  • Optimizations for loading times in Community galleries.

Commission Designs and Goals

Hello, everyone!

We’re currently working with our designer to lay out the potential final designs for the commission system on Furry Network. We have a few main goals when working on this:

  • Improve discoverability for sellers.
  • Built in page for creators to “sell” themselves.
  • Standardized information gathering when requesting a commission.
  • Flexible pricing for creators to match the changing market conditions.

We talked about independent artists and the unique value that the fandom has for them – it’s difficult to make a living as a creator, but furries have managed to keep many artists afloat. It’s amazing to see how much support the fandom gives creators despite the lack of a solid commission system.

We want to help make the dream of being an independent creator become a reality for even more furries.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at possible designs and getting feedback about what works and what doesn’t. From there, we’ll continue to hone the design to the specific needs of the fandom. There’s a good amount of work to be done, but we’re planning to keep development active until this is completed!

Thank you for all your support and excitement for the commission system.

Digby

Happy Holidays

Over this past weekend, I made the long journey from Northern Utah down to Arizona, driving through canyons of cedar trees and sagebrush. My partner pointed out the vintage road signs for motels and drive-ins lining a section of Route 66, a once-thriving roadway embedded in the country’s memory. We make this journey once or twice a year to visit his family in the Verde Valley.

Yesterday, we huddled under the miniature Christmas tree perched on a table. The presents we opened all came from the heart – books, candy games. But we watched as my partner’s mother opened the last present – a set of DVDs containing old home movies.

She sat there and stared. “What are these?” she asked at first, but the realization slowly dawned on her. She held memories – moments with family, with people who had been lost over the years. “You said you weren’t able to get them off the VHS tapes.”

“I lied,” my partner said, chuckling. He had spent the past two weeks playing through the tapes, recording every minute onto the computer. I had watched moments where my partner’s mother, 22 years younger, watched her son open small packages on a winter morning.

There wasn’t a dry eye as she hugged those videos tight.

The memories that we share do more to bring us together than anything else in the world. We hope you are able to spend the holidays creating those unforgettable memories.

Digby

How Are Commissions So Far?

Hello, everybody!

We’ve been lucky to have several users help out with testing commissions, and we’ve gotten some great feedback so far. We’ll likely get some more in the near future with our new batch of testers, but I wanted to give a quick rundown of how testing is going.

The Good

It seems like most of the core features are working well. Here’s what’s stood out:

  • Automatic Payments. Sellers are automatically paid when commissions are finished, and this system has mostly gone well. The payments go out immediately when everything is reviewed and approved by the buyer (or, if no review happens, a week after being finished by the seller). This gives sellers a reliable time frame to receive payments.
  • Smooth Process. The statuses in the commission tool are easy to follow. The biggest thing I’d want is for someone who uses the site to be able to go through the process without any struggles on their first try. We’re pretty close to that goal.
  • File Uploads. References and any other files can be uploaded to the site, and it’s been helpful to have those organized. We did have an issue where the site didn’t display the correct user who uploaded a file; that’s fixed and appears to be working correctly now.

The Not-So-Good

  • Finding How to Edit Price Sheets. There’s not currently a simple place to edit these right now, and it can be frustrating to find that. We’ve been sending links to testers, but we’ll want to make that super visible with future updates.
  • Payments Occasionally Break. Occasionally, a payment doesn’t go through. This is sometimes because of issues with the user account; the sellers need to have their registered email the same as their PayPal. Luckily, we have staff ready to send out payments that were missed during the testing phase.
  • Little Seller Visibility. It can be difficult to find who is open for commissions; we have a community commissions page, but that’s about it. Sellers have generally needed to talk to their own communities for testing purposes. We’ll be doing a great amount of work to make sellers more visible, both on FN and on other sites (no spoilers).

The Future

  • Flexibility. The system is fairly straightforward – open for commissions, users request, and you decide on a price. However, auctions and YCH commissions are huge! We’re looking into what it would take to make those work.
  • Price Sheet Portfolios. Since sellers already have a good amount of work already uploaded to the site, it makes sense to allow them to create a portfolio from their existing gallery. This is a unique benefit we have for being a gallery and commission site; we have other plans to make use of the gallery, as well.
  • Searchable Advertisements. Most sellers manage to get customers by displaying their work, but the current browsing system just uses seller icons. We want to make visually intriguing spaces that will encourage potential buyers to click and browse your work.

We’re happy with how things are going so far. The end of the year is going to be a bit quieter development-wise, but once the holidays are past, we’re going to do a big push to roll out these major features. We’ll definitely want more testers as time goes on, so if you ever feel like jumping in, send us a PM on Twitter.

Thank you all for your support!

Digby

Road Map to Commission Changes

Hello, everyone!

I had the chance to sit down with our devs and talk about where we go from here for commission development – we have a functional system, but there are a few key things missing:

  • It’s hard to see who is open for commissions. Yes, you can look at a user’s page or at the community commission page, but that’s it.
  • It’s not attention grabbing. When I look at the community commission page, I don’t see any reason to pick one artist unless I know them.
  • There’s no quick information about the kinds of commissions being offered by the seller. I have to navigate to each user’s individual page to see what they have to offer. If I’m looking for a writer, this is incredibly frustrating.

During our discussion, we realized it was going to be a hefty project to complete, but this is also the most important – we want anyone to be able to be successful when selling commissions, and we want lesser-known users to be seen.

Here’s a list of the features that we’re planning on implementing in order to address those issues. We expect things to be together in January or February with possible updates in the interim.

Community Commissions Page

We’ve talked about this some before, but it’s much easier to catch a buyer’s eye visually – if someone sees something they like, they’re likely to click and check out prices. Because of this, browsing will be based around imagery instead of user icons.

Window Shopping

This is a prototype, of course, but we want users to be able to see the various commission types without navigating to the seller’s page. Price sheets will still be important, of course, but the price at the top left will help give a solid baseline for shoppers.

We have a few features rolling into this, as well:

  • Users can select a number of media types (full color, sketch, etc.) to advertise. They’ll be categories created by administration, and we will update them as requested. This will also allow users to search by that specific media type.
  • Images shown will be cropped from images in the user’s gallery. The user will choose the images to crop – we want your ad space to shine.
  • Review ratings will be available with more information when hovered over. We want to give you quick information without requiring additional clicks and loading pages.
  • Users can search based on media type, price, number of characters, and seller specialties (we’ll get to that in a bit).

Seller Lists

Simply put, sellers will need to have some additional options – we want people seeing your ad to be interested in what you’re selling:

  • We will include a list of specialties. Sellers will be able to list a number of specialties, and when a user searches for that term, the seller will appear higher on the list. If you are a fantastic paw drawer, you may use that as a specialty to get more commissions featuring what you love!
  • We’ll also have a seller blacklist – if you don’t want to create something, adding it to the blacklist will remove you from search results for that term.

Info on Users’ Commission Pages and Messages

There’s not too much information right now on users’ commission pages; there’s room for a price sheet and additional info, but since we have galleries, there’s much more that can be done.

  • Users will have portfolios for each media type they’re selling. They’ll be able to add whatever submissions they want to those portfolios; that way, potential buyers can quickly see examples.
  • Messages sent through the commission system will have fields to fill out for essential information. Users may also select images from their gallery to include as reference sheets.

Reviews

We’ve discussed this multiple times before, but we’ll be adding a review system for both buyers and sellers as well as dispute systems. We’ll have more information in the future with all the details.

Badges for Sellers

If someone sees your submission and you’re open for commissions, we want to make sure they know that. We’re planning badges on icons and next to user names to show who is open.

Commission_button

Cross Advertising for Sellers

We’ve been working with other fandom sites, and we’re planning to allow sellers to show their advertisements from FN to those sites. This would allow you to have free advertising on other sites that have your work. The advertising option could be disabled, of course, but we’d want to help make you as visible as possible. We’ll have more details as time goes on.

We also have a backlog of other changes and improvements that will be made, but we’re starting to see the final shape of the website; it’s been a long journey, but early next year, we may just be able to take that “beta” off the URL.

Thank you again for all your excitement and support!

Digby