Often times when sites launch I like to evaluate them for user utility, aesthetic appeal, and monetization potential. I mostly like what the hackers at the “new” Digg have done with the platform. It’s clean, allows for personal expression of my own “Diggs”, and is sufficiently social. Here’s what I like about it from a product perspective.
- Seeing social/twitter content inline with the actual articles works nicely. I’m assuming that if I logged in, it’d show me people that I’m actually connected to, which is much more valuable than retweets from others.
- These graphs are overdone. Like many analytics products, Digg assumes that appealing to an excess of data visualized along a graph is useful for people. It’s a nice/pretty graph, but who really cares when this has trended over the last day? So, this is just noise in the long term.
- The new Digg score is a combination of Facebook “likes”, Twitter tweets, and Digg upvotes. This aggregate is generally better than just a Digg score, but it made me think of how useful this would be if the up votes were from communities that I legitimately cared about. Maybe I don’t care how many people have tweeted something, but I care a lot about how many comments something received on HackerNews?
- This is by far the best interaction metaphor and part of the UX of the new Digg. It’s evocative of my favorite iPad and mobile app, Instapaper. In fact, it combines the two of the most powerful ideas on the web: Exploration/Discovery combined with Self curation and tees up content in a clean format to read later
- Finally, there’s the iPhone app. This is a pretty barebones app, I’m not really impressed, but it’s great for less than 6 weeks of work. I didn’t spend any time synchronizing apps to see how long it would take, but this is the most important thing here clearly (just like the rolling background synch done by Instapaper). I think the Reading List component is probably the most important feature here — I tend to be a consumer, but not active participant on mobile. I think other people participate more on mobile, so maybe making top stories more prominent takes precedence for them. In their iPhone app screenshots on the iTunes download page, Betaworks should clarify the Exploration-> Reading on iPhone workflow rather than showing multiple screenshots of a Snoop Digg article that gives me very little context for what the product can do for me.
- Overall, the interface is nice and clean, pretty barebones, and allows for expression. Not a ton of viral features for a site that arguably “invented” virility. I don’t like that I have to sign in with Facebook (at least provide people with a Twitter option, and G+ for extra credit). Not bad for six weeks of work.
Congrats to the Betaworks team for shipping fast and learning from it.
Respond to me on Twitter: @AshBhoopathy or follow the discussion on HN.