StumbleUpon makes itself over again


StumbleUpon has a new look and a new logo (Courtesy of StumbleUpon)
December 6, 2011

StumbleUpon unleashed a new look, logo and overall feel Tuesday, remaking its homepages by changing all its design elements from the color scheme to the layout, adding a new “Stumblebar” and integrating content from brands and celebrities through the use of Channels.

The site still makes it easy to discover content by taking an area of interest and running with it across the Web, but it’s also aiming to let its users drill down deeper into the subjects they enjoy.

Why the makeover? StumbleUpon CEO Garrett Camp said that the biggest reason was to make the site more accessible to new stumblers.

“The biggest reason that we’ve undertaken this is we just hit 20 million users,” Camp said in an interview. “I think there’s so much information overload out there, and when people want to find interesting things on the Web, sometimes search isn’t the best thing.”

Camp said that as the service has grown, the company heard that its old interface could be confusing for new users — particularly when they wanted to look for content that was a little more specific.

“We did a considerable amount of listening to users,” said Marc Leibowitz, StumbleUpon’s VP of Business and Development and Marketing. He added that the site’s new look is meant to capture the sense of discovery that users have come to enjoy from the site.

The changes build upon the company’s introduction of the Explore Box this summer, which let StumbleUpon users find content by keyword instead of simply by broad interest topic. Camp said that the Explore Box let users discover in a more purposeful manner, while still being able to find a broad range of content related to a single keyword.

The new site is more photo-centric, offering up a visual guide to popular search subjects such as movies, music, humor, food and more.

“This lets [users] get a more targeted and relevant experience,” Camp said.

Channels, another new feature for the service, function essentially like Facebook pages that users can follow for updates from a certain company or celebrity. And the Stumblebar, a new black menu at the top of the page, makes it easier for users to share interesting content via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

After using the new site, I have to compliment StumbleUpon for taking strides to make its service more accessible.

The new site is easier to navigate ,and the central Stumblebar, somewhat reminiscent of Google’s centralized navigation bar, is much cleaner and easier to use than the past interface.

The service itself is essentially the same as the update following the Explore Box, though the channels are a nice touch for those with slightly narrower interests. Stumbling around the Epicurious channel, for example, pulls up recipes for everything from Christmas cookies to Pineapple-Glazed Chicken with Jalapeno Sauce, but is still a more tailored look at the Web then the “Food” channel, which will pull up everything from articles on salmonella to pictures of interesting kitchen gadgets.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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