Everyone knows Facebook is in trouble.
For one thing, younger Internet users are brushing it aside in favor of social media platforms where they’re less likely to stumble across their grandparents’ profiles. They’re using newer services Vine and SnapChat instead. And according to Fast Company, researchers at Princeton University predict that Facebook will lose 80 percent of its core user base by 2017.
This is why Facebook couldn’t have chosen a better time to release its new Paper app. Put simply, Paper completely changes the Facebook user experience in a way that makes the whole thing fun again. Instead of the linear (but not quite chronological) look of the News Feed, Paper turns Facebook into a magazine-style flipboard with an absolutely gorgeous UI and layout. Opening and closing articles within your news feed is easily accomplished with a simple swiping motion. And because you can customize your feed for the news you only want to read, it doesn’t feel like a constant stream of spam winding through your screen.
A lot of people have been fretting about Facebook’s declining relevance in the social media landscape, but I really think Paper could be a big game-changer for Facebook. The layout alone gives me hope that one day Facebook will redesign their site in a meaningful way and make it more into a magazine-style layout.
The ability to customize the type of news that shows up in my feed is huge for me. I think the number one complaint with Facebook today is the amount of junk that other people post - and until now, our only options were hiding them, unfriending them or just learning to live with endless Upworthy links.
It's also nice to be able to open the app and have a generally pleasant experience when viewing posts and news articles. I give the app ten points out of ten for the improved UI and UX alone. It’s so good, I’ve actually deleted the standard Facebook app from my phone and replaced it with Paper.
Is it enough to bring back the glory days of relentless growth in Facebook’s user base? That’s unlikely - like any social network, Facebook’s usefulness depends on how many of your friends are already on it, and if younger Internet users are growing up with the perception that none of their friends are on Facebook, then this new interface might only stop the bleeding among the older demographics.
But that might be enough to keep Facebook relevant, if not dominant. Now if only they could do something about Grandma liking every single one of my status updates...