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StumbleUpon brings updated look to the Web, in beta

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StumbleUpon is updating the look of its Web site to bring users’ attention to more relevant, more interesting content — but only in its labs.

Taking cues from the mobile app it released last week, the Web discovery service is bringing a more grid-like, photo-focused layout to beta users starting Tuesday.

StumbleUpon Vice President of Product Cody Simms said that the redesign has three main goals: to highlight new ways to find content that’s interesting to specific users, help users define a stronger sense of identity on the site and let people know what other StumbleUpon users are viewing.

To accomplish those goals, they’re pulling a lot of cues from the iOS application the company released last week.

The new Web look has several tabs that show a users’ profile, activity, a look at what’s trending and feature called “Lists.”

Like a customized Pinterest board or Amazon List, the list feature lets users compile interesting things they’ve come across into specific content categories such as “Architecture That Blows My Mind” or “Vintage Cars.” Lists made by “experts” — average users that have a history of posting things that resonate with the larger StumbleUpon community — get prime real estate on the page.

Simms said that lists are one of the company’s most-requested features.

Things posted by people you follow or experts in your stated fields of interest, in turn, are displayed in the “Activity” tab.

“This is helping StumbleUpon become a representation of things you like,” Simms said.

The new redesign, Simms said, builds off of some of the changes the site made to its service in December 2011, but pulls heavily from community feedback and an attempt to inject more “vibrancy” into the Web site.

“We have a design that allowed [content] to jump into the forefront of the user experience,” Simms said. The layout going into beta Tuesday, he said, puts content front and center and should make it easier for users to scan their StumbleUpon homepage quickly to find the things most interesting to them.

Simms said that the company really wants to hear feedback from its users. While the beta design has been open to a couple of hundred StumbleUpon users, the company wants to test it with a wider audience before pulling the trigger.

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