Digg, one of the most popular news aggregation websites in the US, that was launched in 2004, is planning a major redesign later this year, the Daily Telegraph (UK) reports.
The new 4th version of Digg is an alpha release at the moment (check Digg Version 4.0 Alpha), available by invitation only to a small number of publishers or popular Digg users (follow TheBlogIsMine on Digg) while the new systems are tested and they gather feedback.
Digg aggregates stories submitted by users and ranks them based on user votes, known as ‘Diggs’. Stories that are voted onto the front page of Digg often attract a lot of web traffic and the site also hosts active discussions around the articles posted. Users can vote stories up on the Digg website itself, or by using the Digg tool that appears on many websites.
The new version of Digg has a fresh clean design, an improved submission process, and a new emphasis on following other users to create a personal social filter for the web.
Once inside you are immediately provided a list of suggested profiles that you might be interested in following. However, only big publishers, celebrities, and company profiles are being recommended, and not any normal users (even when some of the profiles have only 1 or 2 followers). Very similar to type of accounts Twitter suggests when signing up for a new account.
One of the main changes from the previous version of Digg is that now users can create a personalised news feed, the best of the internet filtered by brands and personalities whose opinions and taste you value. You build up a list of other users you follow and their activity then shapes and informs your experience of Digg.
Stories dugg by those you follow are ranked on the new ‘My News’ home page view (see the picture), which allows users to craft a social filter for online discovery; a list of new links voted up by trusted sources.
Alternatively there is also the ‘Top News’ home page view, which functions like the existing Digg: a global view of popular stories. The Top News view also indicates when friends have Dugg a given story, with a smaller green vote count beside the familiar yellow count box.
Both My News and Top News can be filtered by date and topic, but the niche subcategories of old Digg are gone. Also gone are the separate picture and video lists, with some videos (YouTube) now playable directly from Digg.
There are a large number of both big and small changes to the site, but many of the original features are still around, even if shown or named in a different way. You will notice on your own some of the smaller changes that we will not spend time showcasing, like the navigational buttons moving to the left side, bury being replaced by the single option report and others.
Categories seem to have had a major overhaul, not with name changes or additions, but rather with all the sub-categories being removed and only having one main top level category to choose from now. Even the Images and Video categories have been removed.
Submitting content has never been easier on Digg. Where you used to have to go through screen after screen to submit content in the past, you know have to simply insert your url in the submit box, which is on many different sections of the site. Once the url is inserted, it drops down all the options you need to submit your article, offering suggested title and description, allowing the selection of a thumbnail, and lastly picking the proper category for the submission.
Probably one more ‘big change’ that Digg has made with this new version, is the ability for publishers to verify their ownership of the site and then have all their content auto-submitted to Digg. Once you submit your feed, through the settings section on the site, then you are asked to verify your feed by ‘simply copying and pasting the verification key provided into your next post, you can place it either in the title, body or hidden in an HTML comment.’
In conclusion, the new Digg looks cleaner and is easier to use and understand than before, however, it remains to be seen how Digg’s key users react to the changes in the Alpha version and what the additional changes will be made when the Beta version comes out. [Digg Version 4.0 Alpha via Daily Telegraph (UK) and Blue Glass]