Path is an iPhone/Android app that has recently received a face lift and it is wonderful. Path is a social network that seems to fulfill what I wanted Facebook and Google+ to be. It is an intimate experience where you share thoughts, photos, and more. This may sound like other social networking sites but it is so much simpler and not assaulting to the senses. There are a couple reasons for this. First, there is a limit to how many friends you can have based on real research on the limits of close human connections. Second, this is a mobile device only application. There is no website. People don’t spend as much consecutive browsing time on their phones than they do in front of a PC so the amount of content is more focused, relevant and less “spammy” than Facebook or Google+. This is a platform to share short, meaningful things with people who you actually care about.
The design of Path is amazing. There are so many well-considered details throughout. The posting button has a wonderful flyout animation to give you the different options for post type. The spinning clock as you swipe through your timeline and the parallax effect for the cover photo or both indicative of the care put into every part of the app. Path has great designers and is not afraid to use them. It is an app that looks good in still shots but feels amazing to use, exactly the way interaction should be.
I do have one concern for Path, it’s free. That seems like a good thing, but it means that at some point when their investors demand returns they will have to figure out how to make money. We’ve seen the effects of this business model in many startups, especially social ones, and few have been good for the user. I hope they figure it out, because I’d rather pay a little bit for Path than have it ruined. Maybe they should read this.