Will Digg’s Redesign Get People Clicking Again?

The new Digg has gone live after a preview and it’s a tabula rasa in the literal sense of the word – a blank slate. The new site is chocked full of white space between panels and stories. The design seems to have taken a page from a few sources: Flipboard, the New York Times and Facebook.I can say that it’s a pretty attractive layout, but is it enough?

Let’s get this out of the way – Digg is starting from pretty much scratch. If the numbers of shares listed on the stories are accurate the site, it’s probably got as much traffic as a popular blog, and is nowhere close to the billions of views commanded by Reddit or the hundreds of millions Digg itself amassed in its heyday. However, it does seem to have the seeds of fandom, and so the thousands of shares on the front page stories could help Digg attract its users again – but only if Digg offers enough for new users to have a reason to come over.

The new layout includes three main sections – “Top Stories”, “Popular” and “Upcoming”.

The Top Stories looks a lot like a newspaper front page, with links to the top articles of the moment, along with a few popular tweets relating to the article and a list of the number of shares the story has received. Wait, isn’t something missing? That’s right, there are no comments available on Digg in its current incarnation. It’s a big surprise. I imagine they’ll introduce the feature at a later time but right now, Digg is all about liking and link sharing.

For each article, you can like it with a thumbs up, which they call “Digging”, and you can of course share on your own social networks.

The Popular section looks at the most-shared stories in the last 18 hours, and looks at their popularity hour by hour based on Tweets. It’s an interesting way to see what’s trending, but ultimately it seems like a gimmick – it’s not enough information for me to make anything but a casual analysis of when the story was Tweeted. They could have skipped this feature and included a comments system.

Upcoming is what you’d expect – a list of stories that have been introduced recently and are getting Diggs. This is the area where it’s obvious that Digg still doesn’t have anywhere close to a consistent userbase – the list is full of untouched stories. No likes, no shares.

So this new Digg, while visually appealing, still seems a bit hollow. We’ll see if they can get the function to match the form, but in the meantime, I’m not sure how they’re going to get Digg back into the cultural lexicon.

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