I had a thought cross my mind. I never really used Digg much – not now or in the past. So I never really got to see how the site evolved over time. So I dugg (haha.) back through web time using a really cool tool called The Wayback Machine at http://www.archive.org/web/web.php.
It’s a barebones site with the core functionality and nothing more. Reminds me of Hacker News in some ways.
Now we start to see some familiar elements. Good ‘ol Helvetica. Yellow digg count boxes. Timestamps.
The blue top bar appears. Digg pretends the Digg Spy is new even though it’s been around for over a year haha.
Digg places categories at the top. They also put focus on two key features: the ability to filter by time (24 hours, 7 days, 30 days, etc.) and the ability to quickly bury a story.
Digg adds the media types to the top nav (news, video, images, podcasts). The site has so much traffic and quantity of stories now, so they add Upcoming to show stories that aren’t the most popular but are quickly trending upward.
I’m guessing Digg realized more clicks get driven through categories, so they make that the bigger, more prominent nav element. And search gets labelled as new even though it’s been around forever. Maybe they update the results page or the algorithm.
Digg hits the big four zero and like the rest of us, has a mid-life crisis. I do enjoy the cleaner look though.
And so that’s the story of Digg as told by their user interface. I think what I find so interesting is that Digg was iterated over the course of 6 years. Digg had to deal with a lot of scaling and behind-the-scenes work, but I feel like many startups these days build similar feature sets much more rapidly. Maybe I’m just delusional. Or maybe today’s improved programming tools and APIs are making a huge difference.
What do are your thoughts on Digg’s evolution?