This drawing was the very first stab at the requirements for version 6 of deviantART, code named "Sleek" -
In v5, refining a browse or search required two search boxes due to the nature of the interface. We wanted to reduce clutter and confusion by having only one search box on any page.
In v5, the CATEGORIES are confined to a drop down menu and are generally not given much prominence. This leads to difficulty in navigation, so we wanted to expose the deviantART taxonomy to make navigating deviantART more accessible. But also to educate our visiting audience on what deviantART is about! No better way than to show off the breadth of the community that we support and embrace here, and so in this mock you see the first stab at how we might be able to accomplish that. I think you'll like where it evolved to beyond this... but I did greatly enjoy taking the first stab.
Another core objective of this project was to MERGE the front page, browse page, and search pages. This, in effect, was drawn with the idea that it was going to be deviantART.com. And with it, the direct exposure of our wonderful art community in its rawest form right when you load up the web site.
The heart menu was the weakest aspect of this drawing and I knew that when I added it in there. The notion was the ability to guide the search with a little search assistant. I remained hesitant to introduce a left hand navigation menu for fear of reducing the amount of thumbnails that could possibly fit on the page. I LOVE how today you can BROWSE and the entirety of the screen is filled with thumbnails and I wanted to keep that in the new interface. But I think the compromise in the final interface is ultimately better for a variety of reasons. (At the time of submission for this deviation, the general public has not seen Final Sleek.)