Last week, StumbleUpon introduced a new iOS app, which brought some new features to the service that have not been available on the desktop version or in StumbleUpon's other mobile apps. Now, the company has brought some of those features (and a bit more) to the desktop experience.
StumbleUpon VP, Product, Cody Simms, gave us a tour of the new StumbleUpon, which you can now take for yourself.
The first thing that strikes you when you access the new version is the dramatically redesigned user interface. If it reminds you of Pinterest, you're not alone. When asked about the similarity, Simms told us, "We feel that the act of Stumbling across the Web is unique and different. The purpose of the StumbleUpon website is to help you find great stuff as a jumping off point to Stumbling. The layout, design and navigation of the site in this iteration is built to optimize for quick scanning and quick access to content. We looked at a lot of different models and feel this design is the most effective model for content discovery."
While the design is quite different from what StumbleUpon site visitors may be used to, it's important to note that it has little effect on the actual experience of stumbling itself. After all, you're stumbling through different pages from around the web. You're most likely not hanging around StumbleUpon.com a whole lot anyway.
We talked to social media marketing consultant Brent Csutoras recently about this with regards to the big redesign StumbleUpon launched last year. “We had a number of discussions with StumbleUpon about the redesign,” he said. “What we learned was the percentage of StumbleUpon users that actually participated through the website was very small, so the redesign really had little to no negative impact to our marketing efforts. Remember that StumbleUpon is essentially a social tool bar and is not focused on being a web portal.”
With the new design, StumbleUpon may not be looking to change that mentality exactly, but to add to it. I see nothing here that does anything to takeaway from the core StumbleUpon experience. Only new ways to start it.
"The new site features are intended to be a jumping off point for Stumbling," Simms tells us. "The site will continue to be one option that users can use to start Stumbling, as will our extensions and our mobile apps."
"We’ve also redesigned the site to showcase the content people are Stumbling, Liking and sharing," Senior Product Manager David Bade notes in a blog post. "That means improved preview images and descriptions, and more information around why we’re recommending each Stumble. And we’ve increased the number of potential Stumbles you see so you have more choice as to where you begin Stumbling."
Personally, I like the new navigation at the top, and the follow section, which lets you easily find channels, people and interests to follow. This stuff was available before, but I think its better designed now.
As I said, the new design brings with it some of the features unveiled in the iOS app. This includes: StumbleDNA, Activity, Experts and Trends. For more background on what all of these features are about, read this.
One feature from the app (the one that could have a significant impact on sites' traffic) - Slide - is not present in the new desktop version. It could make an appearance in the future, however.
This version does bring something else to the table, which was not present in the iOS app (though I'm guessing it will be eventually). StumbleUpon has introduced a "Lists" feature. The company says this has been its most requested feature for quite some time. Essentially, it lets you organize pages you come across into various collections (if you like). Then, users can browse through them in the Pinterest-like format, or simply stumble through them. You can always go to the "lists" section, and find those created by others. If you want to keep your lists private, you can do that too.
You can create as many lists as you like, and Simms says the company has set "a very high threshold" for the number of pages you can keep in a single list.
"As new content is added to the list you will see that new content incorporated into your Stumble stream and also included in the Activity page," he says. "When new content is added to a List you follow that new content will also be listed as an activity on the Activity page."
Give the new StumbleUpon a whirl, and let us know what you think about it. It's in beta, and you have to opt in to use it at this point. To do so, go to stumbleupon.com/settings/labs, and turn it on. The company will assess feedback throughout the beta period before launching a new version upon all users. If you don't like the new version, you can switch back to the old version from the Labs page. At least for now.