Digg recently made some changes to their design. At first, the changes may be a bit difficult to spot, but if you look closely, you’ll notice that there is now a more streamlined interface at the top of the page, with the search now hidden behind a button. The profile stats of the past have returned and the list of topics is now back as a list just below the main navigation.
I think these changes, along with the return of the bury button, will help Digg to regain some of the readers who defected to Reddit when the universally panned Digg design launched last year. However, I think it’s probably going to end up being too little too late and I don’t think there’s anything Kevin Rose and the team can do to bring the site back to its heyday. That ship has sailed, and they should have accepted any offer they had for the company when they had the chance.
The site may end up at the point where they only bother keeping it going in some fashion because they need it to be able to continue with the extremely successful Diggnation podcast on Revision 3. Without that, I don’t know if they would take the effort to keep it going.
Digg have reintroduced the upcoming section of the site by adding a third tab at the top of the page. It just shows that if a bunch of obnoxious users who think they own the site cause chaos because someone changed a few simple things, they all get their own way..
Kevin Rose has stated recently that upcoming page views accounted for half a percent of the total, but now they’re making it a big focus point on the page due to this pressure put on them. They’ve been very quick in making the changes users have not so politely requested. Maybe now that the section is less hidden away than it was before, it will have a profound effect on page views. They’ll surely increase considerably, but maybe only at first. I think in the end if they really believe that it’s right to make a change, they shouldn’t just cave in so quickly.
A few weeks ago I posted what I thought of the beta of Digg 4. The new site was in beta for about a month and overall I liked what they had done with the new, simpler design and focus on following your friends and social news.
Now the site has been introduced fully and the reception has been mixed. While most people seem to like the new aesthetics of the design, there has been some negative feeling among the digg hardcore that too much power has been handed to major publishers and that the site would end up becoming too much like an RSS Feed Reader like Google Reader.
While I do like the ability to follow major publishers and see their stories in my news as well as top stores, I don’t want those publishers to be the only stories on the front page. What separates digg from other news sites in the past has been how offbeat and strange stories and photos can make it to the front page. Digg is different to an RSS feed reader in that it only shows the most popular, most interesting stories rather than everything that’s written, and that’s why mainstream media have a place on the site.
I don’t know if the hardcore users are over-reacting or not but I hope regardless that digg make sure that there is always an equal distribution of mainstream and lesser known and obscure news sources on the front page and adjust their story promotion algorithm accordingly.
I think digg really needs to keep the hardcore happy to be successful but the changes they’ve made could potentially increase the user-base. It’s a balance that they have to find and hopefully they will do.
Moving away from content and back to the site itself, they’ve been experiencing quite major issues and bugs. I’ve experienced many diggs not being counted in the first day or so, page load errors and the official iPhone app is currently completely bare and incompatible with the updated site. Hopefully this changes soon but it’s clearly not a top priority for the team and that’s understandable.
Overall, I stick with my previous comments and really like the design overall. I still would like to see the option to set the default view to the top news page, but Kevin Rose has stated on his own blog that they are listening to feedback and it is one of the things the team is working on. I’m sure the stability problems will go away and future updates will help the hardcore users to feel at ease over the future direction of the site.
Digg hasn’t seen any real improvement for a while now but they have been working on their version 4 redesign for a while and recently launched it as a beta version for people who applied for invites at new.digg.com recently.
I’ve been a fan of Digg for a while and have been going there regularly looking for interesting news. The site is great for aggregating the kind of offbeat news you don’t generally find in the mainstream press, but doesn’t exclude the main news sites and blogs either.
The new version clearly is designed to turn Digg into a bit of a twitter clone by way of the new simpler design and more emphasis on what your friends are digging. The ability to follow people and see what they were digging isn’t new, but it’s now brought right to the forefront. They even make the default view the social news feed as opposed to the top news.
I don’t really agree with this decision because I prefer to view the news everyone else is viewing rather than a set of news that I’m likely to find from other sites anyway, due to the fact that most of the profiles I follow are company sites or other websites that I frequent anyway.
From a design standpoint I think the new digg is a nice upgrade and from a technical view, the removal of the diggbar is a good thing, and the focus on social news does fit with what the original point of digg was supposed to be. I just hope that they add an option to make the top news the default view in the settings.
Overall I think they’ve done a good job. Hopefully the test time is helping to improve everything further and then we’ll see the new design fully implemented soon.