StumbleUpon Redesign: 5 New Features to Know

 @redletterdave
on December 06 2011 11:48 AM

Internet discovery tool StumbleUpon completely overhauled its site Monday, introducing a brand new logo, Web design and channel feature that gives brands and companies a way of getting involved without being a disruption to the overall StumbleUpon experience.

Really this is the biggest refresh, in terms of look and feel, that we've ever had on the Web, said Garrett Camp, StumbleUpon's CEO. Users had the expectation that they would see an individual acting on good will to share a piece of content rather than a for-profit company promoting a piece of content for selfish reasons. Now we have a place where it's okay for users to publish their own things.

So besides StumbleUpon ditching its green and blue logo for a much more stylish orange and white design, what else is new? Here are the five things to look for:

1.       StumbleUpon Bar: The Explore box has finally come out of beta since being introduced in August, and is now fully integrated into StumbleUpon's bar that runs across the top of the page. The Explore function, which can also be accessed through StumbleUpon's home page, is essentially a way of creating a more specific stumbling experience, by allowing the user to stumble through pages related to a particular word or phrase. By being able to stumble through specific categories, users can find what they're looking for faster. For example, users searching for Hong Kong will find relevant pages faster than if they merely searched the word Travel.

2.       StumbleUpon Channels: Before the redesign, StumbleUpon discouraged users and brands from promoting content that they created. In fact, the company would shut down those pages and accounts that only recommended their own material for StumbleUpon. With the new Channels tool, curated content is kept separate from completely random content, but users can follow these channels to receive relevant stumbles. Mike Mayzel, a spokesperson for StumbleUpon, said the company worked with more than 250 brands to set up their pages, and plans to add more Channel partners moving forward. People, brands and websites are all channels that users can follow, but once subscribing to a channel, StumbleUpon only provides content germane to the user's other interests. For example, if a user follows Lady Gaga and already has an interest in fashion, the user may opt to receive pages about Gaga's fashion choices instead of pages about her work with Zynga or her animal rights' campaign.

3.       Profile Pages: In the old StumbleUpon design, a user's profile only listed their likes and displayed their other activity at the top of the page. The look of the page was empty and not very inspired. In the new redesign, likes are similarly listed in the center of the page, but the page shows more texture on the labels and each individual post. In addition, the user's various subcategories, including their comments, interests and channels, are all listed on the side. All in all, between the position of the buttons and the profile picture in the top left corner of the page, the user profile page looks much more like a Facebook profile, and that's not a bad thing.

4.       Home Page: The old home page of StumbleUpon was drab, with a few colors here and there, but mostly just text and a big yellow button to Stumble Your Interests. The new home page is much more aesthetically-pleasing, featuring large colorful pictures based on the topics that interest you. Above the photos that link to pages of those subcategories is the Explore Box, which users can use to launch a specialized StumbleUpon experience.

5.       Sidebar Suggestions: Users can visit the Discover tab on the top of the page to find people or brands to follow on StumbleUpon, but the site also provides three random stumblers and three random interests to follow on the right sidebar at any given time, making it easy to discover someone or something new.

StumbleUpon, which was once only a plug-in for Mozilla's Firefox browser, is now available for all major browsers and platforms, including Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Opera. The company also has free downloadable apps in the Android Market and iTunes Store so users can keep stumbling everywhere they go. The company boasts 20 million users and drives more than 50 percent of all social media traffic, beating out Facebook, Reddit and YouTube.

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