I read Digg a lot. Every day, even. Here’s the thing.
When I browse news sites’ front pages, I typically work my way down the page, opening stories in new tabs, before I read any of them. Then I work my way through the tabs and skim or browse each story. I don’t know if I do it that way because it’s the best way or if it’s a habit from my days on dial-up, where reading one page while loading another (or several) is the only way to go.
So I do this on Digg, too. But on Digg, for the site to work, you’ve got to click on the “digg it” button by each story. I sometimes wonder what it means to digg a story; Does it mean that I liked it? Does it mean that I thought it was interesting? Does it mean that I read it?
Personally I think that just reading it isn’t enough. A flashy headline might get you in to a story or article, but then you get there and it sucks. And isn’t the whole point of Digg to clue me in on the really good stories, not just those with good headlines?
So if I’m right about what merits a digg, it means you’ve got to actually read the story before you can click the “digg it” button. Digg’s user preferences give you an option to always open external pages in a new window (or tab). This supports my method of using news sites, whether by accident or design. The fact that the option is there means that digg’s programmers expect some or all of the site’s users to open up a bunch of stories in new windows, then read them; or to open each story in a new window, read it, then come back to Digg.com; (or something in the middle).
So there’s at least a 50% chance that Digg’s programmers expect users to read stories, then come back to digg.com. And if they expect that, might not they expect them to read a story before deciding whether or not to click the “digg it” button?
Anyway, I could go on and on about this. The point is, I read stories, and if I like them, I click the “digg it” button. Most of the time, I don’t digg the stories I read. But what sucks is that I open all these stories in all these tabs, I go and read them, then I go back to digg.com and try to remember which ones I liked and which ones I didn’t. It’s kind of a pain, and often it’s a step that is easier left skipped. So maybe I just don’t digg anything.
The solution: whether in a new tab/window or the same tab/window, put a small frame at the top of the page — maybe as tall as the blue bar at the top of Digg.com, or maybe even small — with a “digg it” button. That way, I can give my feedback on the story without having to switch tabs, without having to find the headline on digg.com — without even keeping digg.com open. Since digg.com uses ajax, the site should be able to push the “dugg” status back up to the user’s window that is currently showing digg.com, and change the status of the appropriate “digg it” button to “dugg.”
Alternatively, digg could release an API, which would interest me greatly.