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A new look for StumbleUpon

A new look for StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon has redesigned its website and the changes are of more than passing interest.

The 'social discovery engine', which asks users to register things they like and then guides them at random through to related sites, unrolled the changes yesterday.

The alterations follow a rise in visibility for StumbleUpon. In July GigaOm reported that StumbleUpon was sending more traffic to American websites than Facebook. Its number of regular users doubled in 16 months, now totaling more than 20 million. It boasts 33 million monthly unique visitors.

So what exactly is different?


The site has moved from the old blue, green and white logo, to a cleaner looking dark orange and white one. More importantly, the site as a whole is more visually focused. There are big, high-quality images to accompany each interest on a user's homepage and the toolbar is less obtrusive and cleaner (perhaps it owes some inspiration to the Hootsuite toolbar?). The difference in visual appeal is striking when you compare screenshots posted by GigaOm.

'Explore' box

The 'Explore' box was launched in August as a beta feature, but has now been fully integrated into the site. It allows users to enter search terms in order to stumble upon more specific topics. The feature received a doubtful review from Lauren Goode at the Wall Street Journal when it was first released; "I was hoping the new Explore Box would result in search results more tailored to what I might be looking for. It didn't." But while the results that the function offers aren't as specific as what you get from Google, that is surely the point; the search has a direction, but still includes the random element that made StumbleUpon popular in the first place.


StumbleUpon has teamed up with 250 partners to create channels that users can 'follow'. Channels include brands, sites and well-known people: Harvard, Audi and Tom Hanks are a few examples. Users can follow channels and then stumble on their specific content. The move can be seen as an opportunity for news publishers to reach StumbleUpon's huge audience. Many news organisations, for example CNN, ESPN and The New Yorker, are already there, as well as some prominent media figures like Jeff Jarvis.

The channels shouldn't affect the user experience to radically - content from channels won't automatically come up in users' feeds unless they are followers. Even if you do follow a channel, you won't be shown every new thing that channel posts. Still, the changes allow for a bigger brand presence on site.

"Really this is the biggest refresh in terms of look and feel that we've ever had on the web," StumbleUpon CEO Garrett Camp said to Mashable. And it's not going to stop here: at the moment it's just StumbleUpon's website that has been relaunched, but according to GigaOm, resigned mobile apps are also in the pipeline.

Camp told GigaOm in an interview, "the power of our technology is remarkable, but now we're finally doing justice to that with a modern, slick front-end. Finally, our front-end is as good as our back-end."

Sources: GigaOm (1) (2) (3), Wall Street Journal, Mashable, All Things D, StumbleUpon



Hannah Vinter


2011-12-06 14:38

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