Facebook's Approach to Paper, Is UI Enough to Change the Game?

John Krautzel
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Recently, Facebook released Facebook Paper, an app that gives users a new way to use the social media service. Paper, which uses a new interface and integrates advanced newsreader features, is a significant departure from Facebook's traditional mobile platform. Though the app has received positive initial reviews, many business professionals are questioning whether or not it will be enough to help Facebook make better use of its mobile user base.

On the traditional Facebook app, users must hunt through a great deal of information—status updates, birthday reminders, check-ins, photos, and advertisements—to find news stories. The Paper app, on the other hand, places articles and stories in the spotlight, making it easier for users to discover new information. Facebook is marketing Paper largely as a newsreader, aiming to compete with services such as Feedly, so it enables users to pull in stories from their favorite websites and collect all articles in a single spot.

One of the most exciting aspects of Facebook Paper is a sleek, updated user interface featuring an eye-catching, image-based design, marking a departure from the text-heavy Facebook app. Users navigate by swiping image tiles. In comparison to the Facebook app, Facebook Paper operates smoothly and quickly; it feels more updated and technologically advanced.

Many reviewers and business professionals, however, are questioning whether or not a new user interface is enough to make Facebook Paper a success. Many people are pointing to Facebook Home, which launched to a lukewarm reception and petered out quickly. For people who are considering using Paper for business or promotional purposes—or, eventually, for advertising—approaching the app with caution is recommended. While initial reviews are positive, only time will tell whether the app has the potential to change the social media game.

Other business professionals disagree. A recent story from Business Insider asserts that the feature-rich Facebook Paper app has the potential to replace the traditional Facebook app entirely. Because it pulls in personal items including Timeline posts, notifications, and status updates, Paper gives users the most important parts of the Facebook experience. It places all individual Facebook content in a specific section, so users can choose whether or not to view it. Paper also enables users to choose specific stories and topics to aggregate, creating endless opportunities for personalization. Though the app does not currently include advertisements, it is reasonable to expect that it will in the future. For business professionals, Paper could offer unprecedented opportunities to present targeted, visually appealing, and highly visible ads to specific users; in that case, it has the potential to be a true game-changer for businesses.

For business professionals, keeping a close eye on Facebook Paper may pay off in the long run. If users respond positively, the new interface has the potential to revolutionize the business of social media and mobile advertising.


(Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)


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