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DeviantArt is the world's largest social network for artists and art enthusiasts. With over 80 million registered members, it is a platform for showcasing, promoting, and discovering art while fostering and supporting creators community.

In 2017, DeviantArt's acquisition by Wix led to a complete platform revamp. I joined DeviantArt in early 2018, managing a design team working on redesigning the web platform. After a series of mobile web initiatives, in 2020, I've established a new team to make a similar full scale revamp to DeviantArt's mobile apps.


Head of Mobile Design


Social Networking



DeviantArt app before the redesign. It was developed in 2014, the last update was in 2016. 

Starting a complete revamp of a mobile social networking app is definitely a major undertaking. To begin this journey, I collaborated with Head of Product to extensively explore the problem landscape, gather evidence of future opportunities, and analyse the full scope of the project. Together, we formed a pilot team dedicated to defining the redesign.

During the process of generating ideas and exploring possibilities for the redesign, we went through the following stages outlined below. Initially, we focused on determining the most effective approach and redesign plan. We took initial steps to validate its potential and then proceeded to assemble a team that would be responsible for executing the effort.

Redesign Definition

This entire effort was not just about the redesign. Prior to the initiative, both the iOS and Android apps had been unsupported for the past 4 years, both iOS and Android apps were barely functional, with average rating of 1.9 for iOS and 2.3 for Android. So the initial goal of this effort was reviving the apps and getting a valid proof of its future potential first, and only after getting to the full scale redesign effort. Another notable challenge for this massive undertaking was not only development of new product, but also simultaneous establishment of an entirely new team.

After these explorational activities, we launched a pilot version of the iOS app to obtain a valid proof of our hypothesis about future potential. This launch was a success from the data standpoint, so we got a green light green light to start the project and set up the team. From that moment, I started to establish a design team and design process. Before diving into redesign, we had to do another layer of research and ideation together as a design team:

​Main goals for the first phase of redesign:

  • Create a significant positive impact on key engagement metrics

  • Align mobile app experience with new version of web platform

  • Focus on improving content consumption and discovery

  • Increasing volume of usage and retention of mobile apps

  • Build and maintain user centered design process

To address the challenge of releasing updates, we couldn't introduce a full redesign at once due to business and operational constraints. Instead, we opted for a gradual rollout with the big challenge of maintaining seamless flows during the process. I laid the foundation for the future redesign with the release of the bridge version in April 2020, and the team began working on a comprehensive overhaul.

Our focus over the following year was to revitalise all aspects of the app's products. To meet the specific needs of the Mobile team, I customised the design process within the company. After a few iterations, using past insights, I've established a finalised design process that the team followed throughout the entire redesign effort:

Design Process

We revamped the browsing and discovery experience, improving search functionality and introducing curated content discovery. We also added a topics and tags to enhance the experience. The new design was specifically targeting the discovery needs of mobile app users.

Browse & Discover

Under my guidance, the Mobile design team executed the entire redesign effort. I've built a dedicated team focused on delivering exceptional user experiences. Playing a crucial role in defining the design strategy, I've been overseeing its implementation, and aligning with business strategy and vision. I've provided guidance, mentorship, and catalysed team performance and happiness, while spearheading design initiatives and fostering collaboration with cross-functional partners and executive team. 

In a span of one year, my team successfully accomplished a comprehensive overhaul of the both iOS and Android mobile apps. The primary challenge we faced was striking a delicate balance between various priorities: revamping existing app products, keeping pace with new web products, and introducing a mobile-first feature that would provide a competitive edge. Below, you will find an overview of all the redesigned products

Redesign overview

As a part of engagement boost effort, we have designed multiple mobile-first features with three primary objectives: expanding content engagement opportunities, delivering more precise feed content recommendations, and fostering overall app engagement.

Boosting Engagement

Redefining and optimising the consumption and interaction experience for all content types in the system. This aligns with the new functionality available on the web. One of the main challenges was accommodating the four distinct types of content in the same time : deviation (art posts), journals (long text posts), and status updates (short text posts).

Content Types Revamp

Prioritising and enhancing the Submit feature to make it a core experience in the app. We now give equal weight to all content types and have streamlined the navigation. Our main focus was to increase the submission rate and enrich the experience across all four submission flows.

Submit Experience

We have introduced the ability to access and manage networks and groups, a core functionality previously unavailable in the app. This feature enables users to consume content from various feeds and communities, while also providing AI-powered recommendations.

Networks & Groups

We have introduced instant messaging to the app, requiring us to build the entire chat system from scratch. This addition provided users with a seamless interaction experience within the community. Alongside individual conversations, we have also incorporated group chat support and introduced functionality that allows users to create and curate communities within the chat.

Introducing Chat

We have completely redesigned the profile, aiming to align it with the functionalities of the web experience while adding a unique touch to artists' profiles. The new profile provides a content-centered environment where artists can showcase their work, build exposure, and promote their content. New profile experience was targeting to increase content discoverability and engagement.

New Profile

In February 2020, I initiated the mobile app effort with the goal of unlocking the full potential of a native mobile experience for DeviantArt users. This involved a substantial redesign of both the iOS and Android apps, requiring us to build a team, establish processes, and create the product from scratch. As the Head of Mobile Design, I successfully formed a dedicated mobile design team at DeviantArt and achieved remarkable results within a tight timeline.

The release of the final product from the initial redesign iteration marked the completion of the user experience loop. This accomplishment not only validated our initial hypothesis but also boosted engagement and retention, affirming the success of our original plan. Furthermore, the transition of mobile web users to the mobile app showcased the immense potential, as the mobile app achieved significantly higher KPIs compared to the mobile web platform.

Redesign Outcomes

The first phase of the redesign project successfully achieved its main goals. The team established and upheld a user centered design process, ensuring that user feedback and needs were prioritised throughout the development cycle. The mobile app experience was aligned with the new web version, and topped by enhancing content consumption and discovery features. As a result, the project has witnessed a remarkable increase in KPIs indicators related to user engagement and retention.

  • Team collaboration is a key to effective operations.

  • Team proactivity is a key to creating innovation and excellence.

  • Users first. With a proper strategy, addressing user needs is what really multiplies business results.

  • Ambiguity should be not only navigated, but embraced and leveraged. Ambiguity not a constraint, but an opportunity. 

  • Team growth is accelerated matching its capabilities, talents, professional motivations with existing product challenges.

  • Design leadership is far beyond design. Being a design leader is beyond having a design expertise. It involves a lot of strategic thinking, communication, collaboration, decision making, ability to guide and inspire the team, and working hard to ensure that both, team and product move towards success.

My key takeaways and thoughts


After I continued my path as Head of Mobile, focusing further than design, I started to contribute on wider scale to product strategy and vision, getting the mobile app to another level. I have taken the helm in leading the entire mobile team, which includes overseeing design, development, QA, BI, product,  marketing, and community teams.

What was next?

As a team, we have continued to work on apps enhancement, facing new challenges and goals. During that year, we were focused about submissions growth, new users acquision and conversion, and overall growth. That led to another incredible results, and boosted further the main KPIs presented above. Wondering how? Check out Managing DeviantArt Mobile R&D Case Study.

We introduced a brand new AI-powered Home feed with a mix of recommended and followed content. Furthermore, we have upgraded the content consumption model, and expanded abilities to engage with the content. Additionally, users got the ability to customise their feed and tailor content recommendations on the fly up to their preferences. 

Home Feed

As Head of Mobile Design, I've established and led a talented team of designers to make a complete revamp of DeviantArt's mobile apps. My role involved providing strategic direction and leadership, guiding Mobile UX team to deliver exceptional user experience while overseeing team development, growth and overall well-being. I have been fostering design strategy and culture, managing the design process, and launching various product-related initiatives. Throughout this journey, I collaborated closely with executive team partners to ensure alignment, visibility, and successful outcomes for this design-driven effort.

Through my leadership, I successfully built a highly efficient and motivated design team, facilitating exceptional cross-functional collaboration. As a result, we achieved remarkable milestones within a tight timeframe and very fast-paced environment. The redesign of our mobile apps led to significant growth, including an impressive increase of +120% in Engagement Volume, +75% in Daily Engaged users, and +20% in Weekly Retention.

Following this success, in 2021, I transitioned to become the Head of Mobile, overseeing the entire Mobile R&D. This expanded my responsibilities beyond design to include managing development, product, analytics, QA, marketing, and community teams. Shifting my focus to product strategy and vision yielded another great outcomes, which are outlined in this case study.

My role

DeviantArt mobile apps (both iOS and Android) were developed in 2014. Soon after the team was dismantled due to a company focus change, and the last update to the apps was in June 2016. Following Wix's acquisition in 2017, new chapter of DeviantArt started with a complete redesign of the web version of the platform. It was decided to leave mobile apps aside, to put an entire focus to reshaping the web version of the platform and doing the most massive redesign in DeviantArt's history.

After completing a major scope for web platform redesign in 2020 and getting a valid prove of its traction, I was one of the loudest advocates of bringing DeviantArt mobile applications back into life. In February 2020, we embarked on a mobile app effort to showcase the immense potential of a fully immersive native mobile experience for DeviantArt users. We aimed to make a similar full scale revamp to the apps after they have been abandoned for more than 4 years. 

Problem Space

DeviantArt Mobile

Design Team

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