StumbleUpon has undergone a major makeover. On Tuesday the company will unveil a totally redesigned website, a rebranded logo, and a new “channels” feature that lets users subscribe to content streams curated by celebrities, publications and brands.
It’s the largest and most comprehensive branding and redesign initiative StumbleUpon has made in the company’s history, CEO Garrett Camp told me in a recent interview:
“We realized we weren’t conveying the experience well enough through our visual appearance. The power of our technology is remarkable, but now we’re finally doing justice to that with a modern, slick front-end. Finally, our front-end is as good as our back-end.”
For StumbleUpon users, the changes will be very noticeable from the moment they visit the site (for now only the web version of StumbleUpon has the new look, but Camp says relaunches of its mobile apps are on the way.) The redesign is aimed at bringing StumbleUpon’s more granular features — such as the newly-implemented ability to Stumble according to specific interests — to the surface, Camp says. It’s also meant to show users content that they may find interesting, stuff they may not have previously noticed with the site’s previous look. Profile pages have more photos and social data, the site surfaces more personalized recommendations based on your current preferences and activity, and the new search bar (called a StumbleBar) makes it easier to search according to keywords and interests.
Essentially, it’s designed to make StumbleUpon more “sticky” than ever. And having played with the new version of the site for the past couple of days pre-launch, I have to say it succeeds at reaching that goal. The new interface strikes that elusive note in design: It makes the app simpler and more intuitive to use while at the same time giving the user more options to choose from.
Along with the redesign, StumbleUpon has launched a new feature called “channels” that lets users subscribe to StumbleUpon streams made by brands, websites, and noteworthy people. The feature is launching with more than 250 channels including ones from Details Magazine, The History Channel, and photo website 500px. For now it’s completely free for brands and celebrities to host channels, but StumbleUpon says it will be selective in giving the green light to prospective channel owners.
In all it’s a good move for StumbleUpon, and it’s one that seems long overdue. Once you compare the new look of the site to the old version, you realize how much was hidden under the surface. StumbleUpon has been growing at a rapid clip lately — the site now gets 33 million monthly unique visitors and has more than 20 million regular users, about half of whom joined in the past 10 months — so it is right to make sure it is putting its best face forward to make sure the success continues.
Here is a before and after comparison of StumbleUpon’s homepage design for a signed-in user: