Ajax B. Coriander 7 years ago • updated by Charlie 7 years ago • 14 • 1 duplicate
I've poked around a bit, but I haven't been able to find anyt other posts on the subject.
Has the topic of story icons or cover art been brought up? Because, while I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover or a story by its icon, a lot of people do. I feel like the story system could be more robust if this feature was added. It could also help make the stories a little more unique. Right now, the story section is a little bland.
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There absolutely needs to be something like this. Cover art, even if its just something giving a brief idea of what is in the story like "Vore" or "Transformation" can be vitally important to drawing attention to stories. TBO im amazed this isnt like, one of the top voted issues relating to literary works
Indeed, you have a couple of microseconds to grab someone's attention and bring them into your story. Without icons, that becomes even harder.
Preferably we'd have the option for both. Custom thumbnails to make the thumbs look less bland for stories and also cover art since several authors commission special artwork for their stories to draw more attention.
I didn't even think of cover artwork, that would be a great fit.
I tend to be against this, but it would depend on how it was implemented into the design. When story icons or cover art dominate the preview, it almost makes purchasing art for a story mandatory in order to get any traffic. If the title and teaser maintained their places of prominence, I could see this working well.
That's not true in the slightest. There is plenty of evidence from dozens of other writers even just the ability to post a generic icon made in paint that lists just a simple list of stuff that the story contains whether it be fetishes or general content or even an incredibly simplistic summary drastically increases people's interest and the ability for people to notice the story and want to click it. Compared to just having a blank empty black icon that means nothing. Go look on furaffinity and I will bet you money that the stories that even just have that icon that gives a brief description of what the story contains will typically have way higher view counts then the stories that don't have any thumbnail at all. But even hypothetically let's say for the sake of argument that you're right writers still deserve that opportunity. Letting some people post icons doesn't take away anything from anyone else but it gives some writers an opportunity to maybe get a few more views in a community that already barely acknowledges literature
This is true on sites like FurAffinity and Weasyl, where the only thing seen about a written work is the preview icon and possibly a very small title. In my experience on both of those sites, leaving the icon blank or using an image of the title and keywords was visually unappealing, and resulted in very little traffic.
On the other hand, FurryNetwork already has a far superior interface when it comes to browsing for stories. While browsing, stories have four quickly visible pieces of information: a title, a brief summary line, space for a teaser/preview, and keywords. This gives somebody browsing plenty of information to decide if they want to see more of that submission. My main concern with adding story icons or cover images would be if they somehow overshadowed the four pieces of information above, which I think are far more important and more indicative of a story's content and quality. If they could be implemented in such a way that they didn't overshadow said information or become mandatory in order to get traffic, I would be entirely fine with them.
Here's some food for thought, this is how stories appear in someone's feed right now:
(I've edited the picture a tad. I don't want to accidentally call anyone out on the forum.)
In a sea of pictures, this looks more like a 404 error than a submission and it is easily overlooked. A simple thumbnail would have made this submission, whatever it is, easily seen. But as it is right now, everything just sort of gets lost.
Between this, the lack-luster story UI, and the lack of a story importer, it makes the site rather unusable for me until improvements are made. And I'm sure I'm not the only other writer that feels this way.
Ah, gotchas. I apologize, I hadn't realized that there are two possible feed layouts. I have my feed set to use the list format instead of the thumbnails, so this was my first time seeing that.
In that case, I think I would rather suggest something closer to what SoFurry does for tiled views. Again, more informative than an image, and definitely better than the blank thumbnail above:
Trust me, you're far from the only one who feels this way. Between the visibility problems, the formatting problems, and the no-importer problems, not to mention the staff's apparent stance of "Promise and forget" when it comes to improvements for writers and stories, I've actually begun to warn other writers away from Furry Network. It's not writer-friendly in the slightest.
I'd argue that the problem with the story gallery giving all this information up front rather than a small icon is that it makes browsing a much bigger hassle than the other galleries. While it's true that when you're looking for a story you want something that will be able to hold your attention a bit longer than a picture or a photograph, it's also important that you're able to easily go from piece to piece, especially if somebody just did a bulk upload of story chapters.
Plus, as others have said, a thumbnail image can do two things: It can catch the eye, or it can quickly and clearly summarize the most important tags. Both of these will help a story get noticed, which is good for both the reader and the writer.
As the site is designed right now, without scrolling you can see fifteen items for artwork, photos, and multimedia. For stories, you can see two, and that's if both writers are very brief in their teaser -- somebody who takes all the space allotted will bring this number down to one submission on the page at a time. This isn't good for a reader who wants to browse for something to read, and this isn't good for writers who want their stories to be noticed. Nobody wins here.
Instead of using a picture thumbnail, I think a better solution to do is something what DA does: a preview of the text in the icon. This is because stories with image thumbnails tend to make me confused as I'll first assume it's artwork.
You can already embed images into story submissions c:
But I do agree that something has to be done for the story thumbnails.
I like the idea of cover images for stories!
I know many people have wanted icons for stories.
We'll take this idea into consideration. I'd love to get icons for stories, and the method for doing so is definitely still in the air.