Why the New Digg Sucks

Thumbs DownI have about 20 minutes to give my initial impressions on the new Digg profile redesign but have arrived at my conclusion: it sucks.

A few things come to mind based on everything I’ve used Digg for in the past:

  1. Digg took a step backwards in social news and took a step forward on social superfluity. Digg is now letting you send shout outs to your friends but doesn’t emphasize the initial foundation upon which the site was created: Digg is a social news site. I already turned off shouts; I use Digg for news. Not for Facebook-Myspace-Yahoo! Mash-like social networks. Merging the two when there’s already too much of it in the open is totally unnecessary.
  2. Where did the descriptions go? Now, I can’t see descriptions of the stories I’ve submitted nor can I see descriptions of stories that my friends have submitted. Since most of us use descriptions from the article text itself, it’s rather pointless to remove story descriptions because now I cannot easily discern if I’ve read the story or not before.
  3. Digg just killed usability. Now, when I go to my friends’ submitted page, I can’t Digg their stories. I have to click on the link, a link that takes me to the original Digg submission page (which includes the description that is so prominently missing in concern #2) and then I have to click on the story to read the content. What happened to making Digg usable? Why should I have to add unnecessary clicks to improve my Digg experience? And if you tell me it’s because you’re forcing me to read comments, what if the submission has no comments yet? I’m not befriending users “just because” — I befriend users based on similar interests. And now it’s difficult to agree with my friends’ submissions which totally kills the experience.

Overall, I think this is a step backwards to making Digg what it was before: a social news site. It has become a place like Facebook where sharing stories has become secondary. We don’t need another Facebook. Digg was once unique, but not anymore.

69 Comments

  • Yeah – I hate it so far…. Hopefully they listen to feedback and make some obvious changes (but I’m not holding my breath)…

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  • Webomatica says:

    Since you use Digg so much it’s good to hear your opinion. I’ll have to check it out.

  • Point 2 is annoying but it’s #3 that’s driving me mad, I used to open up a bunch of articles in tabs, read them, then digg the goodies all on one page, in one deft movement. Now I have to follow the links to the digg page. I’ve read less and dugg less today when really a nice new interface should make me want to explore the site more.

    The cynic in me says it’s just a way of upping the page view count so they get more impressions and perhaps more ad clicks. Anyone that has spent more than ten minutes thinking about usability would always try and reduce the amount of clicks. They’ve visited one too many “10 best” lists that are 10 separate pages and become immune to it.

    I’m still far to much of a facebook virgin to comment on that GUI but for what digg have just done I think SU does it slightly better. with SUs new interface I get recently commented on stories from my friends in “what’s new” and can quickly view the original story or view the friends page.

    My normal start page is http://digg.com/users/liamvictor/friends/submissions
    now I can’t see if I’ve dugg a page before, like you I miss the description and I can’t see what’s gone popular.

    One step forward and two giant leaps back.

  • John Wesley says:

    Couldn’t agree more with #3. Now it’s much more annoying to look through friends stories. Miserable. The only benefit I can see is that it will be easier to find friends now.

  • Tasty Pickles says:

    I only recently started participating on Digg and really started to love it. Now not. If I wanted a social network, I’d log on elsewhere. I’m disappointed with this move towards a “tries-to-be-everything” kind of 2.0 site. I guess I’ll start looking for a new pure news site.

  • DiggLeague says:

    There are a bunch of things that really piss me off about the new redesign.

    1) The opening stories in a new tab/window is ridiculous. It seems that digg is either trying to synthetically boost page views by forcing users to more pages before they get to the story, or just make it really hard to go right to the news source so people stick around on the site longer.

    2) You can’t see the descriptions in the friends view … OR the URL. I purposely don’t click on spammy .blogspot URLs becuase they are SPAM. Now I am blind to SPAM! This seems like a horrible step backwards in stopping SPAM

    3) You can’t go back more than 3 pages in your friends submissions. I only frequent the site when I am at work, and I enjoyed looking at my friends content (i selected them as friends because they DON’T submit junk, and digg stuff i like) and now you can only see back three pages at a time. (A fix is that you can change the friends/submissions/page# in the browser to go back further) but still a pain.

    4) In the friends view, you can’t see what your other friends liked when hovering over the digg button. That was one of my favorite aspects. You could gauge if the story was more liked by techie people or the political type .. now nothing.

    5) I don’t use digg for the “social aspects” like mentioned in the article. If I wanted to start “social networking” I would just go all the way and get a poodle, a sex change, and start using facebook. I like fresh hip news while at work, that is it.

    6) With the new format of friends submissions makes you look back and forth like reading a book when trying to find out who submitted each story. The submitter and number of diggs is about 1000px apart, and it just horrible usibility.

    All around, this seems like an awful change for digg, I wish I could comment on the shout-outs and whatnot .. but I could care less, as I only use Digg for news.

  • Spinchange says:

    This is just a guess, but I’m thinking descriptions aren’t displayed in friends activity becuase of load times / resource constraints. As slow as loading that was before + everything they’ve added, makes me think this is why they’re not displayed. If that is the case, they could give users an option to display them, and the trade off would be a slower load time. If it was just a design decision, than I don’t understand it.

  • @Spinchange: I wouldn’t think so, and if that was a concern, they need to invest in new hardware.

  • Spinchange says:

    It was the reasoning behind hiding comment replies with AJAX

  • aldomatic says:

    Now I get emails saying someone is a fan of me or a mutual friend.. more emails to trash :o(

  • Didn’t they say they were going to fix the AJAX comment issues? And what is wrong with investing in more hardware? Does Revision3 have no money to do so?

  • avi says:

    I use Digg for news.

    Let’s take look at just a few top stories from the September Digg Archive.

    “Wheelchair-Bound Woman Dies After Being Shocked With Taser 10 Times”
    “International Talk Like a Pirate Day”
    “Boy wakes up with Posh Accent after Surgery”
    “Online couple CHEAT with each other”
    “8 Simple Ways to Cancer-Proof Your Body”
    “Global Warming Could Cause World Crop Collapse”

    Sure Digg brings me lots of quality content in the technology space, and many of the stories entertain me on a daily basis. But come on – Digg as a quality news source? That’s like telling me you get your daily news from the supermarket checkout counter!

    Oh, and where does Digg rank on Google for the term “news”? Nowhere to be found. :-P

  • Avi — you miss the point. You’re taking it out of context. Sure, if I wanted news, I’d go to the NY Times, news.google.com, news.yahoo.com, or any of those other news sites there. But I want social news. I want news that people with similar interests to mine think are interesting. I happen to have voted on many of the aforementioned stories. They’re interesting. They’re abnormal. They’re fun. That’s what Digg should be about — finding the good news stories among all the other news out there.

  • DiggLeague says:

    I didn’t say quality news source … but a very entertaining source of news and stories. Also if you hand pick out a few random stories from the archives you aren’t going to get an accurate display.

    Like right now I see the last 5 being :

    # Warning: Bush calls for expansion of spy law (260 diggs)
    # A Giant Trilobite on the Sun “We’ve never seen anything quite like it,”… (233 diggs)
    # The Hard Science of Making Videogames. (PICS) (220 diggs)
    # Dan Rather Files $70 Million Lawsuit against CBS (265 diggs)
    # Japan Invents a 26-Hour Work Day [pic] (321 diggs)

    But that is a totally different point alltogether.

  • BarbaraKB says:

    So, are some of you heading over to reddit? Pure news, pure text…

  • Reddit’s audience can be even more hostile and unhelpful than Digg’s

  • I think Digg has a myriad of problems, but You’ve shined light on some things I’ve not thought off. Nice post.

  • unhappy digger says:

    Reddit & other social networking sites must be having day of their life seeing digg screwed like this!
    Why is Kevin behind digging a grave of digg?
    First they removed our 100 users names (reduce the influence of the top diggers according to Kevin & co) & now they have done it again by removing the friends submission & all, giving only 3 pages, link in link & all the bulls#!t.
    Apart from these now you need to give all you details accurately or else your account may be terminated. Way to go.
    Firstly he has moderators who secretly burry the stories, apart from auto bury. And burry brigade cant be forgotten.
    Thinking of burry brigade or the left wing under the direct command of Kevin & co operates freely without any fear or rather its the creation of Kevin & co itself.
    One fine day this brigade is going to turn itself like Osama bin laden against Kevin himself. We paid the price of training Afghanis to fight against Russian & ultimately created the monster laden. So will Kevin pay!

  • Why the heck any company would add clicks to a user experience is beyond me! Isn’t that usability lesson 101 from like 1995?! :)

    Plus, I agree that Digg should not try to be something it isn’t. We don’t need 10 more Facebooks – businesses can certainly evolve, but trying to be like someone else undermines their own authority in the space.

    Great post!

  • Wendy, so very true. I have so much to say on how I view Twitter vs. Pownce now. I said how Pownce was the clear winner in my Twitter vs. Pownce post. After giving both of them time, I would say that Twitter is clearly winning because it’s simple. Stop adding features that we don’t need!

    I understood adding video. I understand adding pictures. But we’re on Digg, not Diggbookspace!

  • RippinKitten says:

    I don’t like the changes that digg.com made. I think digg’ll lost a lot of visitors that liked previous site version

  • Kelly says:

    Add this to the frustration: Where’s the damn URL on submitted?!?

  • blah says:

    I actually started using reddit over digg when i noticed where digg was going, but now reddit is becoming the same thing. the idea of social news sites is what we need with our sterile gov’t propped MSM as the only source of news, but now these social news sites are all becoming the haven of childish internet ‘memes’ and chit chatting between users on a public forum. note to reddit users: Don’t post your damn comments as news, write a damn article and submit it to reddit.

    anyway, with anonymity comes immaturity in the internet age, and that’s what eventually dominates these situations, i wish there was some way around it but the internet will never become the information tool which it was once envisioned as.

  • Glen Allsopp says:

    Really hate the new look, no longer can I digg stories that my friends like quickly, as many people have said it should be about usability.

  • Urbanist says:

    The new Digg will have a higher Alexa rank – great for Digg, sucky for all the users who don’t want to mill about aimlessly forever trying to figure out where stories are they want to check out.

  • webaddict says:

    Well, as pathetic as it sounds today is slightly depressing. I really really liked Digg and was enjoying it more every day. I was able to find great stories from friends that had the same interests. All this talk about more usability and more friend abilities are just TREMENDOUS time wasters. Digg already loaded slow enough… Now you have to click all over in friends just to Digg a story. I was an avid user and my desire to use Digg is deflating like a 3 day old birthday balloon. I guess I’m going to search for some of the things I liked in Digg over at Reddit and Stumble. :(

  • Tamar,

    I guess I have come full circle with Digg. I was fascinated with it for a while there, but I can’t take it seriously any more. I have this huge blog post I’ve mostly compelted, where I liken it to a game. The post is long as, and to be honest I can’t be bothered completing it.

    Digg to me is such a waste of time. I mean, the traffic is huge, IF you don’t get buried — and I usually do — and the kinds of people who come by leave again as fast as they got there.

    I’d rather be focussed on compelling content and relationships with the ProBloggers, Smashing Magazines and LifeHackers of this world, where at least the traffic is “qualified” and interested.

    I really don’t care much any more what Kevin Rose does…

    He’s never done anything for me. I mean, where’s the marketing category in Digg? He’s never bothered to give our entire industry one! And yet he creates one for the here-today-gone-tomorrow Presidential election!??!

    It’s a load of crap, and about time we all stood up and said so.

    While I’m not enamoured by the while voted news site model, I think I’ve got more time for Sphinn. But I haven’t even been there lately, either.

    Sorry. Just so over it at the moment!!

    -Alister

  • Anonymous says:

    This may come as a shock to you, but digg has always been bad.

  • Anonymous: this may come as a shock to you, but I thought so once before until I actually started using the service.

  • Charbarred says:

    Bottom line, web sites are measured by page views, they’ve just found a way to create tons of page loads. More so, you are most likely to click on ads now that you are actually visiting the pages. In other words they screwed the users over to get more money.

  • Ian says:

    I agree with all three. I’m checking in to several other site distribution sites and so far I’m saying http://www.plime.com looks the most interesting. It’s a shame that sites have to change so much…

  • Charbarred says:

    Plime is quite a hostile environment but quite interesting nontheless

  • I’d really like to weigh in here…

    I was introduced to Digg by Tamar (of http://www.techipedia.com) some time ago.

    This was before Tamar became a “staple” on the Digg network.

    Our company manufactures and sells diamonds and jewelry on the Internet, so I was excited about the prospect of joining this unique social community.

    The “old Digg” was great; interesting and informative, easy and accessible.

    If I liked something, I could go from ” 0 – 60″ in two seconds and “Digg” the post..ETC.

    However, today’s “improved” Digg ABSOLUTELY STINKS!!

    I just checked in today for the first time in a while and was surprised by how much I hated these new changes..AND I AM A RELATIVELY INFREQUENT USER.

    The new Digg is cumbersome, tedious, hard to navigate, too time consuming and a total slap in the face to all the people who catually made Digg waht it is today.

    You have to go through multiple steps to Digg a posting, you cannot see what your community is discussing…IT STINKS!

  • OliviaHoman says:

    Why? DiggLeague, I couldnt agree… Not every .blogspot URL is SPAM .

    In any case I want track and vote my friends.
    I not like current changes in digg.com
    :(

  • shawn says:

    Just wanted to say; I was a digger when digg first went live, now it is just a joke. I read, but I do not digg.

  • Erika says:

    Interesting thoughts about the “new Digg.” They are now trying to increase clicks from Friend pages to articles so they can generate more views on the advertisements. Its all about impressions these days baby!

  • Im not exactly jumping for joy about many of the new Digg changes, but it will likely make things more accessible for the casual user.

  • jessie says:

    well for me, I haven’t used Digg as much as i wanted to when i singed up. actually, i find a lot of people there rude. sorry, no offense meant.

  • Research Guy says:

    Yep – I think you are right on again..

  • baby says:

    I agree with you on the first two points. We really don’t need a new facebook, or new messenger service. I’m sick of those things. Just because it’s the trend, doesn’t make it cool, and it doesn’t mean you need to implement it. It simply means that someone else implemented it. But, you should stick to what you do best. So, they should stick to social networking.
    I disagree with point 3 because what I think they’re trying to force you to do is digg the STORY, not your FRIEND’S stories. The latter has resulted in Digg becoming a social hangout for a select few who always get their stories on the top 10. Digg is trying to find a way to prevent this crude form of nepotism.

  • Baby: this is actually a somewhat outdated post (Digg fixed problem #3 about 3 weeks ago). The issues are a bit different now. :)

    In my experience, usually the first story was submitted by my friends since they’re so adamant about using Digg and timing their schedules around when stories get published. Now, I honestly don’t use Digg much anymore (and I’m out of town so I don’t even know what happened at the town hall meeting on Monday) but there’s a serious desire to be the first submitter of the stories that are posted on a regular schedule, and guess what? My friends typically do it. Is choosing to vote for them crude nepotism or is that just a matter of serious Digg addiction? I think it’s the latter and that you don’t understand the mindset of those hardcore users. I can’t blame you because I’ve been there too.

    If you’ve read any of my other submissions, I admit that I networked with people on Digg because their submissions were interesting to me. That’s why Digg is a social news site and not just a traditional voting site that has absolutely no social influence.

  • John X says:

    I woke up this morning to find out Digg had unreasonably blocked me. When I tried login in to my account I got this unexpected message: Digg Hates you.

    http://ezapples.com/Home/tabid/36/EntryID/34/Default.aspx

  • I wasnt really expecting this post. In one of the magazines Ive read, Digg has been held as topnotch social bookmarking site. But what happened now?

  • Actually, the question is “what happened in September?”

    The answer is in the post. I hope you read it.

  • I still don’t know if I like the new style of Digg or how it works. I have’nt decided yet.

  • Joanne says:

    Just for fun I decided to Digg this article. Guess what – the word must be out – “Cool this story has been submitted”
    There was only one story and completely unrelated. It only had one Digg.
    Seems like someone is manipulating Digg

  • knud says:

    Hi

    I am working on a site which try to solve many of the problems with digg.com.
    You can find it on http://crowdnews.eu.

    The main problem with digg is the voting system.
    When only top voted stories get on the front page it has
    to be a subject that many can relate to,
    which result in stories with a low information content.

    http://crowdnews.eu solves this by using sharing instead of voting.
    Every have a personal news page on which they can subscribe to other users and when those users share stories they will appear on the personal news page.

    Crowdnews

  • Red says:

    Who will get burned on Digg today? Random banning, where you even there? Did they reply to your email so you could recover 4 years of stories submitted? THe answer is…

    Possible yes.
    Probably yes.
    Possibly not
    Not a chance
    Hell no.

  • Digg is a very special world in internet.

  • kane says:

    Digg has Officially JUMPED THE SHARK!

    • ha, this is actually the OLD digg. The New Digg came out today… 4.0, that is. This blog post was about v2.0…or was it 3.0? I lost count. :)

      • pierre says:

        I actually thought this was about 4.0 too. Would you be able to compare 4.0 with the version you were comparing, if you remember? I’m only familiar with digg 3.0 and it was alright

        • This is a blog post from 2007. I haven’t used Digg since 2008. I got banned then, had my account restored in February of this year and returned briefly, and then stopped again. I really don’t use Digg anymore to feel comfortable with a post on it. Not my forte anymore.

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