The social media aggregation site Storify has launched a restructured interface that places a revamped search function at the centre of its design. The site, which allows users to create stories from online content from social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube, had already included a search feature, but as of Tuesday an enlarged version becomes the central aesthetic focus of the homepage. In addition, search items will now be ranked, as Storify puts it, ‘based on the resonance each media item has on our platform’, and all media elements of searches (photos, quotes and videos) will be displayed in a ‘tile’ or ‘card’-based layout.
Storify’s new look comes exactly a year after its last digital face-lift. The rationale behind this new change appears to be based on aping the format of other media sites, giving greater prominence to that which is being currently shared and accessed (much like Twitter) whilst updating the personal aspect of people’s profiles (Facebook-style profile pictures are one of many other innovations). But it is the layout of the homepage that is most strikingly new, signalling a new emphasis on topicality and ‘resonance’ across other social media platforms. Burt Herman, co-founder of Storify, said that the company ‘wanted to show the media our users were collecting from the front page of the site directly, and also create a more engaging teaser for the stories inside. We think of it like a table of contents for a magazine where the best quotes and photos are there to draw you deeper.’
Herman also stated that the new search rankings should allow relevant content to show up regardless of any keywords or hashtags used. For example, he said that when Sohaib Athar live-tweeted the killing of Osama bin Laden, he didn’t used any hashtags (because the event’s significance and broader context weren’t clear while he was tweeting), but his tweets still show up in Storify’s Osama bin Laden results due to being mentioned in countless other stories about the attack.
Some have raised questions about the company’s responsibilities to other publishers of content consumed on the site, and indeed the broader financial strategy of Storify itself (the site contains no advertisements). ‘The stories can still as always be embedded on publishers’ own sites, or pulled in from our API, to be placed wherever [publishers] want for monetization,’ Herman points out. ‘We’re very early in all this and want to help publishers monetize in the future as we also develop our own monetization strategy.’
Storify has seen 30 million story views in the past 30 days – up 30 percent from the previous month. Whilst Herman concedes that most of the traffic comes from stories embedded on other sites, there is no doubt that traffic to Storify is growing, and that this redesign represents an important step in the continuing influence and expansion of the site.