On Wednesday, TechCrunch and Mashable reported the release of Stumble Video, the latest offering from StumbleUpon. Like the core offering, Stumble Video allows users to surf through categories based on preferences and previous ratings, serving up videos instead of websites into one central video player. Beyond a great idea, the implementation is clean and engaging, and happily, the interaction is kept consistent through one player with simple choices and great use of iconography.
The screenshot (right) shows the expanded interface with category choices to the left of the player and users that liked the video to the right. This incorporates the major features into one simple, unified display of category navigation, viewing and rating and socializing through interests. Hiding the peripheral panels on start also reduces the overload of choices for the user once they first arrive on the site.
I think this is a great start to a product that should do very well and can serve as a nice model for other sites that want to let users explore and discover without having to wade through excessive screens, disorganized layouts and cluttered screens. One thing that most will notice almost immediately is the lack of advertisements. Although, this may or may not be a temporary state, the focus on the actual product and offerings in this case seem to heighten the user experience, and a non-dependence on advertisement is something for which StumbleUpon is known.
One small point which we noted is that the contrast of the text and the background is not very great. Although the contrast does meet W3C’s accessibility standards (Passed at Level 2 with contrast ratio of 5.31) according to Juicy’s Colour Contrast Analyser), the categories are a bit difficult to read particularly at varying screen brightness and angles.