opinion

Mobile Users Are Driving Categorical Design

Stephen Yagielowicz

Content discovery can be challenging for mobile users, especially those trying to navigate their way around sites or apps designed for older generation display metaphors, where even the simplistic nature of an adult tube site interface may become awkward to effectively use; where a swipe and a pinch, not scrolling through menus, is preferred.

Addressing this situation is a new generation of apps employing new metaphors for content display and navigation, with one example coming in the form of an application that may revolutionize the way in which digital content is created and consumed.

It is the confluence of social media curation now influencing design and access.

According to Facebook, its new Paper app for iOS makes storytelling more beautiful, with an immersive design and full-screen, distraction-free layouts; along with tools that make it easier to craft and share the user’s own stories.

The first product from Facebook Creative Labs, Paper is part of a program of building apps supporting diverse ways for people to connect with each other and share their ideas.

Paper displays stories categorized into customizable, themed sections, so that users can easily follow their particular interests. The company notes that Paper offers its users “a rich mix of content from emerging voices and well-known publications,” across more than a dozen topical sections that range from photography to sports, to food, science and design; with the opening section showing a Facebook News Feed that delivers “inspiring new designs for photos, videos, and longer written posts.”

It is an attractive and functional alternative to traditional digital content presentations.

“Storytelling and sharing have been reimagined in Paper to show stories at their best,” states a Facebook rep. “Everything responds to your touch so you can pick up or thumb through stories with simple, natural movements [and] you can tilt your phone to explore high-resolution panoramic photos from corner to corner and see faces and other important details up close.”

Full-screen auto-playing videos bring stories to life, immersing viewers in the action.

“Beautifully detailed covers make it easy to spot articles from trusted publishers and decide what to read or watch [while] articles unfold in the app and appear full-screen for a focused reading experience,” the rep explains, adding that “When you’re ready to tell your own story, you know exactly what your post or photo will look like because you see a live preview before you share it.”

It is the confluence of social media curation now influencing design and access.

“The web’s a big place,” Constine concluded, “but Paper could use big data and big-brained editors to make it feel small enough to comprehend, just a like a newspaper.”

The adult web is also a big place, where micro-niche marketers may wish to emulate this easy to navigate “in your face” approach to content discovery and consumption by adopting this emerging trend.

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