How Digg Castrated My Friends

When Digg.com launched it’s improvements last week plenty of sheeple who don’t use Digg regularly applauded the move toward a more facebook like model. However other people who do use Digg called the update what it truly was, a mistake. Not to worry the Digg editorial staff squelched the negative feedback and continued on the path dictatorial control under the guise of democratic voting. One of the issues that didn’t get enough coverage in my opinion was the crippling of the “friends view”.

When you look at every other page on Digg the stories look like this screen shot below

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You get the title, domain, and description all on one page. So you can evaluate a story based on those factors and decide if you want to read it CTRL+CLICK the link to open in a new tab. After you read the story a quick CTRL+W the window closes and you can “vote” for the story if you liked it, from that page.

Now lets take a look at the “improved” friend view

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I get the title and which friend submitted it nothing else. No description no domain and most importantly I’ve lost the ability to vote directly. I’ve got to click the window to the story then click again to read it. In case you missed it Digg improved things by adding more clicks and page views.

Ok for those of you who haven’t read Don’t Make Me Think or have never used a website usability consultant, I’ll fill you in on a little secret, adding page views to core site functionality is not an improvement. In the early days of the net I ran a shopping cart designed by some over priced consultants who operated under the guidelines of no part of the checkout process should be below the fold, and we ended up with a 6 stage checkout. Later on I shortened it to 3 screens and we had a double digit increase in the number of completed transactions. When you’re designing a system you want as few obstacles as possible in way of what you want people to ultimately do.

Digg pretty much ignores user feedback about the issue so what’s a solution. I can tell you there is more than one private label work around at various stages of development/completion giving users back the functionality Digg took away. However what I’d really like to see is something like Digg Alerter become more robust and give us back this function and more. I’d like to see a normalizing/layering application built that takes the data from lots of social sources and aggregates it into one control module. I want to see how all my stories on Digg, Propeller, Reddit, Stumbleupon, Sk-rt, Newsvine, Hugg, Delicious and others are doing, at a glance instead of having to log into multiple services. I’d even be willing to pay a nominal monthly subscription price ($20-50) to use it. So c’mon there’s a free monetization idea out there, who’s going to grab the brass ring and run with it …

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