After reading about the second round of investment that Path had received yesterday I was keen to find out a bit more about the social platform I had only heard mummers of faintly in the background until now.
“The smart journal that helps you share life with the ones you love”
The tagline from the minimalist website doesn’t give too much away so I had to dig deeper to find out why investors like Richard Branson and Jerry Murdoch are willing to contribute to a $30 million round of investment, currently valuing the company at $240 million.
Path was Founded in 2010 by some pretty big hitters. Dave Morin (previously Co-Inventor of Platform and Connect at Facebook), Shawn Fanning (creator of Napster) and Dustin Mierau (co-creator of Macster). What that means is that its already older than Instagram…. and it hasn’t really caught on has it?!
But after downloading the app which is a platform built entirely for mobile use I can see what loosened the investors pockets. Path aims to be a combo of Facebook, Instagram,Foursqaure and maybe Twitter all in one. There is also a strong focus on close relationships, (rather than being connected with every Dick or Harry you went to summer camp with) with Path initially limiting you to just 50 friends. This has recently been increased to 150 friends, but the emphasis is that this is a more personal social network than others.
Users can use take pictures directly from the app and use many of the filters that Instagram has become famous for. Part of the attraction to Facebook of Instagram was its ability to take photos directly from the social platform in as few steps as possible. Path allows you to do it in three steps, which is comparative to Instagram.
Users can also check into places or add location tags to any posts they create. They can also let people know what music they are listening to providing a link directly to both listen to the song and to buy it from iTunes.
And of course comments and updates can be provided too.
What I think is key to Path’s appeal is its amazing user interface design (UI) and user experience design (UX) where ease of use and navigation features strongly. The platform itself is slick and aesthetically pleasing and anyone that I have convinced to sign up immediately likes it and wants to use it.
Creating posts is incredibly simple: click on an icon at the bottom of your screen and six buttons fan out in a quarter-circle. From here you can write whatever’s on your mind whether thats tagging where you are, who you are with, what you are seeing, how you are feeling or what your listening to. These all appear on a single screen along with your friends’ updates.
I can certainly see why, with its slick interface and focus on a smaller network between closer friends, Path is appealing. Facebook is the master of social networks, but I’m not sure that it is suitable for certain types of posts that I may want to put up. Photos on Facebook tend to be mainly of people and usually of them having a good time. Photos on Instagram tend to be of things. These arty, beautiful photos of a tree you pass feel a bit poncy and unsuitable on Facebook, yet fit in perfectly on Instagram. In the same way I think in a smaller social network letting people know who I am with and what I am listening to seems more appropriate.
The problem with Path is though that it currently has about 798 million less users than Facebook. No one I know was on it until I convinced a few of my friends to try it out and the fact is a social network is only as good as its network. But with such an interest right now on sites with design at its core like Instagram and Pinterest it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if Path comes more and more to our attention in coming months.
If you are on Path let me know. My username is Barrytg! I have included a link to an excellent site about user design called Start ups this is how design works.
Also check out great blog by Shane O Leary.
- Path Seeks to Become Next Mobile Application Superstar (hudsonhorizons.com)
- 2 Apps Like Instagram for Windows Phone 7 (madrasgeek.com)