StumbleUpon App Review

Last week, Mashable published an article titled, 4 Free Apps for Discovering Great Content on the Go (http://on.mash.to/h1lKrr).  Their top recommendation was StumbleUpon’s app. StumbleUpon has been around for 10 years, but just launched their app last year. The basic premise of the site is that it serves up articles that you will find interesting based upon the areas of interest that you select when creating your profile. You build your profile by consistently giving the content thumbs up or down, resulting in more tailored suggestions as time goes on.

I was able to find and download the app without any issues, but registering was another story. At first, I was happy to see that you could easily register by using Facebook connect. I love this feature. It eliminates the need to fill out lengthy forms, one of my biggest pet peeves on a mobile site or app. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. I tried several times and kept getting an error message. So, I went ahead and registered the long way.

To start “stumbling” on content, the app suggests seeing what your friends are reading. There are several ways to do this. The first is to connect with your Facebook account. I tried that, and got another error message. The next option was to scan through the contacts that are stored on my phone. I was told that 26 of my friends were already users. Great! The app directed me, “Tap ‘follow’ to see enable sharing.” This sounds easy enough, but I couldn’t find a follow button anywhere. All I could see was an Invite All button to get my other contacts to register for the site. So I wasn’t able to see what my friends were reading via my contacts book or Facebook. That meant that in order to get the all rolling, I had to go in and start manually selecting areas of interest. This is not something that I was excited about doing from my phone, so I gave up and went to the desktop site for that step.

Once I selected my interests, the experience worked fairly well. I went back to my app and started going through suggested content. I got a few interesting articles, funny videos and cool pictures. The app functionality was intuitive and I was giving content the thumbs up and down and emailing stuff to friends with ease.

I am pretty confident that I’ll enjoy and use this app now that I have it all set up. Obviously, the registration and connect functionality could be improved upon to make for a better user experience. That being said, I frequently use my mobile phone for entertainment when I’m killing time. The purpose of the StumbleUpon is a no-brainer for mobile users.

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  1. #1 by cocotsai on April 5, 2011 - 4:53 am

    It looks like an attractive app! I have never heard StumbleUpon before as a foreigner. However after this post, I would love to give it a try. I believe it will be very enjoyable to “stumble” the information you are interested in. I agreed that personalization is important now, so even the content you read should fit your interests. And using Facebook to sign in is really convenient feature. I know the long registation process can be very annoying when using a small screen and keyboard. However I always feel hesitate to do that because of worrying about privacy issues. I just don’t want everything of mine all relate to the Facebook. Maybe it is one of my pet peeve…

  2. #2 by ChinWonder on April 5, 2011 - 7:37 am

    Unlike you, Meg, I shy away from an application as soon as I see that I must log in using info for another site. I haven’t anything to hide, but I also don’t want to make it easy for anybody to determine that MentoUno and Ago-Ichi are the same person.

  3. #3 by Kelly McIvor on April 5, 2011 - 11:32 pm

    It does sound like an interesting app but how many people will get past that terrible sign-up experience. I guess it’s a risk that when using a ‘universal’ sign-on feature that the target system is actually available (it’s another potential point of failure).
    I think your post highlights the need to be doing constant testing to make sure nothing has ‘broken’ magically.

  4. #4 by Jake Stout on April 6, 2011 - 5:57 am

    Hey Megan:

    Did you happen to see how the Facebook registration process was handled? Did they use Janrain or one of those services? That may explain part of the problem since some of them are dealing with privacy issues. We are using Janrain now on our site but have not received enough feedback to determine it’s efficacy.

    Jake

  5. #5 by Katia Farage on April 6, 2011 - 5:58 am

    Thanks for sharing this site/application!
    I loved the concept and did register online just after reading your post. I don’t download a lot of apps but I decided to give this one a try.
    The web experience was very enjoyable and I will definitely come back, but the mobile app is another story… While downloading the app on my phone and signing in was a breeze, the content presented was not always formatted for mobile so i had to scroll, zoom in and out in order to see the content.
    I guess it depends on the media am looking at on my phone… but I would have expected the app to be able to filter content according to the medium…

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