Frictionless commenting and comment incentives
In the list view in What's New, add a text entry field under every submission to enter a comment without having to click through to the submission. Feedback and approval are a huge factor in what keeps artists motivated to continue posting, and if you remove a click from the process, you'll encourage more people to do it.
Additionally, it would be really nice if there was any kind of incentive for people to leave feedback on artwork, even if it was purely cosmetic, like achievements (i.e. profile badges for 10 comments in an hour or 100 in a week, leaving a comment on every image in an artist's gallery, X comments in excess of 50 words, etc) or a karma rating in relation to number/length of comments left in the last four to six weeks.
Customer support service by UserEcho
This would be nice. At least the first part. I know other sites measure user worth by communication metrics, but i'm not super concerned about that.
I am concerned with there basically being no reason to click into a picture OTHER than to comment on it. Relative views on your pieces, versus your other pieces is a good way to gauge audience interest in a given work. If you're one who cares about that sort of thing, that's sort of important.
So if you never have to click into a picture to do anything (comment, promote, fave), then why would anyone?
I LOVE the idea of badges for various things. Side7 did something kind of like this, or at least, they had a "Top Commenter" listed on the front page at all times. But I love the idea of badges more. That is so fun! It would kind of be like Deviantart badges, except that would actually make sense and be fun to collect, instead of being pointless wastes of space like llamas and cookies or whatever it is they have there.
I agree with being able to add comments seamlessl. Comments really drive people to upload art. Little commendations for contributing to the community is great too as a motivation to comment and discuss art that's uploaded.
We've had a few design changes to the activity feed - promoted images were made smaller, mostly because of the repetition that we had with these showing up. We're going to make these larger and consolidate them to one promoted post per image in the feed.
Once that's done, we'll look into adding the ability to comment directly from that page. I agree that the less time you have to load, the more likely people will use features.