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10 reasons why the new StumbleUpon irritates rather than inspires

Tuesday, 16 December 2008 — by

StumbleUpon logoThere was a time when StumbleUpon inspired. But the recent little update has been a big let down — and here’s why…

This isn’t the first time I’ve had cause to call special attention to the strangeness of StumbleUpon. Sadly, things seem to be getting worse, rather than better.

In fairness, the penultimate update did introduce a much better layout for the profiles pages, among other things, and StumbleUpon is still a good social bookmarking service.

Perhaps you’re new to StumbleUpon? If so, here’s 5 StumbleUpon power points, to get you going. However, for those who’ve been using StumbleUpon for the last couple of years, here’s my list of irritations:

StumbleUpon strangeness

  1. The title tag has been a notable absentee since the update.
  2. The names of people in my “Recent visitors” list on the right-hand side get truncated.
  3. I no longer see a summary of my profile by default. I now have to click on “Your Favorites” to get to that — where even my own username gets truncated!
  4. When I submit, or Stumble, a web page or a blog article, the pop-up window goes blank and doesn’t go anywhere. I have to close it down manually, whereas before, it would vanish after submission.
  5. There’s still no fix for the the weird characters you see when Stumbling things; apostrophes and dashes are still being garbled.
  6. Previously, we could see the number of “Recent visitors” from the little counter in the top right, but now that doesn’t work when you visit your profile page. So you have to make a best guess, based on your recollection of the recent visiting members that you saw from your last visit.
  7. Why do we have “Friend Requests”?
  8. And why are “Friend Requests” hidden in the “Inbox”? Where I don’t often look, and as a place, doesn’t make anywhere near as much sense as placing “Friend Requests” under the “Friends” tab.
  9. Sometimes, when someone adds me as a friend and I reciprocate, rather than being mutual friends, I’m told that my friend request is pending. Why? When all I’m doing is returning the friend request.
  10. Why do we now have the option to subscribe their “Favorites”? I just don’t see why you’d want to do that, but not add them as a friend.

If you think these are minor issues, then you’re right. I won’t contest that for one moment. But it’s the accumulation of all these minor quirks and oddities that make this latest minor update to StumbleUpon such a big let down…

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Heidi Cool → Wednesday, 17 December 2008 @ 12:02 BDT

Wayne,
Great points it does make for a more awkward user experience. I find myself more perplexed by how SU is working. I was looking at my Google Analytics for Pownce Refugees the other day and saw that my top referring site (other than Pownce which alas is no longer a factor) was Stumbleupon. So I checked SU for the site and saw that it had been thumbed up once by someone who found it in Photography. Yesterday my friend Josh said it showed up as a recommendation for him while he was stumbling so he thumbed it up as well. So now, as of today it’s been thumbed up 4 times (including me – I though I’d stumbled it yesterday but had to do it again today to show up – my thumbing doesn’t always seem to work.)

I’m happy that it showed up but I still find this curious. Is it showing up because some interior page has been more actively stumbled and I just don’t know which one? But if so why would the main page be the one displayed? Is there some other factor in play? It has fairly high traffic for a site that is only about 17 days old, but of course it is appealing to a very niche market of former Powncers so 58.95% of traffic is direct, 38.95% is referring and only 4.10% search engines. (I wish I could bottle this marketing strategy but I think it only applies to what in this case was a unique situation.)

Obviously I’m not complaining, but it’s showing me that just when I thought I had something figured out, things can happen differently. The StumbleUpon visitors have a higher bounce rate at 64%, but that’s still not a bad number for this scenario. It’s all rather curious, so I’m going to have to do some digging to find what hidden dimension is at work here.

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