Scribd, the popular document sharing hub, has finally rolled out a much-needed redesign. The site has long been hampered by a messy homepage that wasn’t attractive for first-time visitors, displaying a list of its top features in lieu of a YouTube-esque stream of featured documents. The old design made it clear that Scribd worked well as a utility, but didn’t make it attractive as a destination site. Now, the new site highlights a sampling of its top documents and includes a number of UX changes that Scribd hopes will remedy this issue.
One of the major changes in the design is a new emphasis on search. Scribd has seen impressive growth since its launch in Spring 2007, and now claims more than 20 million unique visitors monthly. But more than half of that traffic comes from search engines – something that the site would like to change. The new design is intended to make the search function more prominent, encouraging users to turn to Scribd instead of Google or Yahoo when they’d like to find a document. And CEO Trip Adler says that it’s working: while A/B bucket testing the new design, Scribd has seen the number of searches double (the number of uploads increased by 70% as well).
Finally, in conjunction with the redesign, Scribd has ditched its yellow generic “document” logo in favor of something that reminds me of colored pencils.
Scribd’s biggest competitor is DocStoc, a document sharing portal that offers a similar Flash-based viewer.