Digg is just days away from relaunching under the umbrella of new owner Betaworks, and its developers are providing a behind-the-scenes look at what you can expect when v1 of the site goes live on August 1st. Shortly after closing the acquisition — the total cost of which remains unclear — Betaworks announced Rethink Digg, a project aimed at redesigning what was once a hugely popular web destination from scratch in just six weeks. Now we're seeing the results of that effort, with v1 of Digg described as a "fast and thin" experience that's been tailored for desktop browsers and mobile devices alike. You won't see any ads on the new site, which Betaworks says has been "optimized for return visits" rather than focusing on page views during any individual session.
Simplicity is another priority for the new Digg team and they've accordingly thrown out overwrought features like Newsrooms and the Newsbar (or "Diggbar"), which was first axed by Kevin Rose & co. in 2010 — one of the few positive changes in that much-maligned redesign. Instead, the experience will revolve around three key areas: Top Stories, Popular and Upcoming. The Digg score itself has been reconfigured and now combines sharing on Facebook and Twitter with the site's own ranking system. Something you won't see in v1 of the "rethought" Digg, however, is commenting, with Betaworks conceding that creating an engaging comment system was a larger task than their six-week development window permitted.
It's impossible to predict whether the new Digg will connect with new users and reengage old fans that have since joined other communities (i.e. Reddit), but we can't fault the design work on display here. Clearly Betaworks realizes Digg had grown far too complex for such a simple concept and it's rather refreshing to see them moving back to the basics.