StumbleUpon is releasing a new version of its iOS today — I’ve played with a little, and it’s a good-looking, intuitive-feeling app that could make the content discovery service more addictive than ever.
Cody Simms, the company’s new vice president of product, tells me this is the first big product update since he joined the company in June, and it reflects three general ideas that StumbleUpon will be focusing on moving forward. First, it will be to giving users more of a personal identity within the service. Second, there will be them ways to “stumble” through content. Last, Simms aims to add more ways for users to find recommended content.
So for starters, when you open the app there’s a new home page. You can just dive into the content that’s recommended for you based on your interests and past activity, but there’s also a separate section for Trending content, and another where you can see the Activity of your StumbleUpon connections, and yet another called Interests, an area for recommendations from experts in various interest types.
Above all the different content areas on the homepage is a new color bar called your “StumbleDNA.” Basically, it represents your different interests in the app — as you read and “like” different articles the bar should become more varied in color.
“Color-based representation is just the start of helping you build a personal identity within StumbleUpon,” Simms says.
And once you actually start browsing the content, the navigation has changed as well. Perhaps the coolest change is a new “Slide” interface — when you open a new page, a small preview window opens while the full page is loading int he background. That way you can quickly assess whether the content is interesting to you, and if it’s not, you can slide on to the next page without waiting for this one to load. There are also toolbars that make it easy to like, dislike, or share a piece of content.
Simms says some of these features are mobile-specific, while others are just making their appearance on mobile first (mobile is StumbleUpon’s fastest growing area), but could eventually make their way to other parts of the service. For example, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the StubmleDNA bar appearing on the website soon. And yes, StumbleUpon is planning to make similar improvements on Android, Simms says.
“This is really just the beginning the next phase of StumbleUpon’s product evolution,” he adds. That doesn’t just mean adding new features to the existing products, but also a bigger vision for expanding StumbleUpon’s model of content exploration. “Imagine a world where you’re, for example, sitting on your couch using this new interaction model to swipe through content on your phone, and it’s showing up on the big screen.”
You can download the new app here.