To start off, I've been a NG user for quite a while, since I was a child, but I used it more for onlime games if anything, rather than animation. For anmation, I stuck with Youtube, but I feel NG could spark a new renissance for content creators.
Back in the 90s and early 2000s, people used NG because it was the best at the time. However, with Youtube and Tumblr feeling more modern, and having far more users, people moved there. We all know what happened to Tumblr, and what happened to Youtube is more tragic. Because Youtube's algorithium makes it impossible to be an animator unless you do nothing but fan animatics or story time animations, NG is essentially the best solution.
However, NG clearly isn't fully ready yet.
I feel like what's happening is kind of an awkward puberty for NG at the moment. NG mostly stayed the same, because design trends have been old school, and for a while, people hated new layouts. However, now that new, more modern layouts have become succsessful, NG has done some effort to catch up with the times, and I think it's doing a fantatsic job. To give credit where credit is due, it already feels more modern than DeviantArt.
However, there is still much improvement, and I think the NG team is lisenting to advice for improvement, which is good, since I truly want NG to sucseed, in a world dominated by big corporations, with true ''social networks'' being dead.
Most of these suggestions will be for the art section since honestly, the animation and gaming section is fine. I've found what I want pretty easy, and there's not much to improve in my opinion.
1. Redesign and get rid of the entire art layout, just get rid of it. Now, usually when it comes to old layouts, I'm not one to get rid of the old art layout entirely, but it really needs to be canned. Search terms are often very difficult in NG, compared to DeviantArt or Instagram where it is much easier to actually find your stuff. Not only that, but because every art is in a tiny thumbnail size, it makes it really difficult to tell what is actually good. Bare in mind, I have 20/15 vision, and a good 1080p screen, and even I find it irritating. So I can only imagine the pain of someone with poor eyesight or a crappy display will feel.
My solution? Take a look at Piczel.tv, since in my opinion, it's essentailly what a modern art portal and art search should look like, and is the cloest thing I could imagine to it. The images are large, and they're organized, and finding things are pretty easy. I have heard that NG wants to incoporate ''Tumblr'' like features, but unless it's for mass customization of your user account, or to make your NG account into a real blog, I wouldn't reccomend it, in a visual aspect. Their too fundamentally different of a site, and I feel Piczel.TV is by far the best way to go for a modern NG.
This may seem small, but to me, it is a major issue that must not be glossed over, and is the only thing which makes using this awesome sight a pain. The current search functionality in art is so bad, that I end up abusing portals and going on DDG to find ex Tumblr users, which is not a good sign. Just have a normal, DA like layout or better yet, copy Piczel.TV in this area as well for the search section, that will already fix 90 percent of your problems.
As far as the feed, it's perfect, just make the thumbnails bigger, as small thumbnails in a feed, defeats the entire purpose of a feed. There's even a plugin on Firefox that does exactly that, and it makes the site look awesome. Just download the plugin, test it out, bring the same functionality to the site and boom, you've pretty much fixed the site.
That's all I have for now, If I have any more constructive criticism or ways to make NG sucseed on a design level, I'll make more posts. Thank you all so much for reading, and have a great day.