As you know, Digg has changed its overhaul 5 times since it was built, twice in the last two years. The latest version, under the CEO John Borthwick, is quite interesting with just one major fallacy, it did not carry forward the user data. In other words, the new site removed user access to the old data, their posts, comments, articles etc.
The News.me team focused primarily on getting the new look which would drive traffic but in the process could not restore all the user data. But they promised that they will fix the problem soon and they did.
They recently launched the “Digg Archive”. It is a tool that will give users access to the old site and allow them to retrieve their respective data including comments, saved articles etc., It is very atypical of any company to bother with spending on restoring archaic data for user benefit.
Now, how did Digg do this? They took help from new startups to provide the archaic data of users a home which would facilitate users to download it. First is Kippt; it is an organizer that converts links into lists, stores bookmarks, clips, comments and shared content as well. The second is Pinboard; it is a web archiving and book marking service. These sources can be used to import the data and once that is done, the site will archive it and make it searchable. Simple.
Though changing designs is not very advisable, it is like removing people from their comfort zone and asking them to adjust to the new environment whether or not they like it. Driving traffic cannot solely be done by changing the designs (though restoring old user data does give user confidence in the new management) but to move forward and introduce features that would attract more people to post and interact on Digg. They should introduce a new mobile version and concentrate on tapping into the users who are going mobile or else Digg might need to change management again.