Digg v4: Refreshing Social News Discovery

How many times has your blog or website been brought down by traffic from Facebook or Twitter? Even with their combined audience of few hundred millions, no other site other than Digg has the power to bring a blog massive surge in traffic and the much deserved attention. While links and articles get inundated in the sea of tweeting, retweeting, hash tagging and app updates in the conventional social media networks, things are totally different at Digg.

Digg has always been about only one thing. News discovery. Pure and simple. The fact that they are still alive today yet unable to reach where they intended to be, lay in their choice of being the guardian of the news discovery niche. Digg has gone through four refreshes so far and with the fourth one, they try be more social and more personalized.

Overview

The new layout is clean, simple and loads pretty fast. The colours are easy on the eyes and the design is downright pleasant. This redesign is not a radical overhaul that could drive the existing userbase nuts and makes it easy for new users to get a feel as to what Digg does without much of a learning curve.

Overview

Overview

If you are not a member already, signing up is simple with the default sign up form and is extremely simple if you decide to login using your existing Facebook or Twitter account.

Submitting Content

Submitting a Link

Submitting a Link

The first thing that grabs our attention is how easy it has now become to submit a link. A rather larger and impossible to miss submit box sits prominently on the homepage on the eye level. In the past, we will have to go through the steps in a separate submission page.

Tweeting the Link

Tweeting the Link

Once submitting a link, Digg automatically grabs the title, description and an image from the article. The design is minimal but is too blue with too may shades of the same colour. Once you select the relevant category from the drop down, we are done and the link is submitted. It is unbelievable how many steps – including the ridiculous CAPTCHA – have been removed from the previous versions. The link is then pushed to your followers (in Digg) and you can promote the same to your friends at Twitter or Facebook.

Social News Discovery

So what’s all the hoopla about Digg becoming more social? Well, without trying to reinvent the wheel, Digg has adopted the friends & followers system of Twitter. Sure, they did copy that idea, but it works like a charm for us, the end users. No more barrage of useless and uninteresting content. You can now follow your friends or people with similar taste in content to get only the relevant links.

Find Friends

Find Friends

Hop on to the My News tab on the top to start the discovery process. You can either use the Find People to follow link or the Find Profiles link on the left side pane to see the list of interesting profiles. We are shown the list of friends from Twitter, Facebook and  Gmail to follow here at Digg.

Twitter Friends Suggestions

Twitter Friends Suggestions

Taking another leaf from Twitter’s playbook, Digg has its own Suggested Users list for users to follow. Just like in Twitter, these are prominent experts or famous brands like Envato, Smashing Magazine etc. and when they Digg an article or submit one, you will get them too. Once we start following these people, the My News page becomes our own personally curated news stream.

Final Thoughts

What’s with the ugly bar at the bottom of the page? Nobody wants to know how fast the page loads at Digg and if they really want people to take up the survey or give feedback, they should find a more appealing way than a tiny link at the bottom.

Digg existed even before people knew about the nifty new trend called “Social Media”. In a way, they invented social by allowing fellow geeks to find and share news that is of interest to the like minded community. Then Digg got lazy and a bit arrogant. At the very least, with an active community in hand, they could have successfully replicated Twitter if not Facebook.

In a nutshell, the new Digg is all about what your followers and friends do & suggest. There definitely will be a fifth redesign, but whether or not Digg will be around for a sixth redesign will be determined with this version. But so far, so good!