Mobile

StumbleUpon reinvents the stumble in stunning new app for iPhone, iPad

StumbleUpon’s new application for iPhone and iPad offers iOS users a fresh, colorful, and personalized twist on the now 10-year-old practice of thumbing through the best the web has to offer.

Released Wednesday, the app sports a new head-to-toe look, a stumble-centric navigation experience for instant gratification, a modified home screen for alternative ways to stumble, and new trending, “slide,” and “StumbleDNA” features that make for a faster, more personal browsing experience.

Founded in 2002, StumbleUpon is the resurrected startup that helps people uncover interesting photos, articles, and videos. The web exploration company, which was purchased by eBay in 2007 and then sold back to its owners in 2009, now has more than 25 million users and is growing fastest on mobile.

The new StumbleUpon experience for iOS looks and feels like no other product the veteran company has released to date — and that’s quite intentional.

“This app, to me, is the first step in really reimagining our product line,” StumbleUpon’s vice president of product Cody Simms told me. “We looked at how we could improve the navigation … while bringing a new element of fun and fluidity to the experience overall.”

The playfulness Simms speaks is most evident in an eye-catching design that screams, “come touch me.”

The new home screen encourages mobile folks to flit about the web, albeit with purpose, by stumbling in four ways: thumbing through content picked specifically for them, exploring articles in an all-new trending section, stumbling the activities of friends, or diving into selections around a particular interest.

The trending section suggests hot content getting the most amount of likes, shares, or community reactions, while activity mode exposes what friends and StumbleUpon ordained experts are liking for a more diverse selection of content.

Once the stumbling process is started, the application user will immediately uncover a StumbleUpon innovation called “slide.” Slide is a new feature that provides people with an instant, visual preview of content so that they can speedily skim and flick through articles, videos, and photos.

The stumbler will also notice that a color-coded bar follows them through the app. The bar, otherwise known as StumbleDNA, is meant to be a visual representation of who you are and what you like. Colors in the bar denote specific interests, and the bar changes with your changing tastes.

Altogether, the iOS app, said Simms, should accomplish three key tasks: help people stumble in new ways, weave identity into the experience so that StumbleUpon is a reflection of a person’s likes, and alter for the better how the service recommends content to its users.

“This iOS launch … is really the first experience of these coming to life in our product set that you’ll start to see across everything else we do,” Simms said.

The company said a new web version is coming soon and that a refreshed Android app is also in development.

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