Since its inception, StumbleUpon has always been one of the most perfect lean-back apps. Long before anyone even used that term, the StumbleUpon toolbar took various pages on the web and allowed you to quickly jump between them to find new things of interest. This concept seems perfect for a device like the iPad. Unfortunately the app just wasn’t very good. Until today.
StumbleUpon has just launched an entirely redesigned and rebuilt iPad app to finally bring the experience iPad users deserve. “I feel like stumbling is perfect for the iPad — for sitting on the couch. It never took off like we wanted,” founder Garrett Camp says, talking about the first iteration of their app for the iPad (which was built by a contractor). “We decided we were going to re-do it from the ground up. We re-did the interface. It’s much better than before. It’s almost like a black version of Flipboard,” he says.
And that’s a good comparison. Flipboard is often looked at as the pinnacle of media consumption design for the iPad sor far. But it’s mainly concerned with text. StumbleUpon’s app takes on both web pages and things like pictures, and videos, which have become vital parts of the stumbling experience — particularly on mobile devices.
Camp notes that mobile usage of StumbleUpon is soaring. On the iPhone and Android devices, the service is growing 35 percent month to month, he says (compared with 20 percent overall). Since the mobile apps launched last August, a full 10 percent of stumblers now visit that way, he notes. With this new iPad experience, Camp believes they can take tablet usage which is now hovering around 1 percent and at least triple it. Again, it’s a form factor that just seems natural for the service.
The iPad experience now has things like swipe-to-stumble, the ability to flick through content. And the app pre-loads content, meaning they look to see what you’re next stumble will be and they pre-load it so you can flick and see the new content instantly.
But the coolest addition in Camp’s view is the Social Bar. It’s a new gray bar that resides at the top of the app that shows the user who submitted the page you’re on and links to their profile. “Right now, you can’t easily access who liked the page. You might not know who it came from,” Camp says of the mobile apps. They’ve updated the iPad, iPhone, and Android apps to now all have this. “It’s a much more social kind of experience,” he says, noting that in the future, they’ll extend it to including friends’ comments and tweets, etc.
“I think we’ll now fit into other slots of people’s free time,” Camp says of the new iPad experience. “It’s just like the iPhone experience that people love, but it’s so much better on the big screen,” he says.
You can find the new StumbleUpon app for iPad in the App Store here.