Facebook Paper launched in 2014 and I recall the overall reaction to be simultaneously “wow!” and “what?” Reflecting now it’s clear that Paper was an inspirational yet unusual attempt to combine Facebook with periodicals. You were able to follow publications and topics, and then swipe between your Facebook feed and these other sections. I consistently used Paper to browse my feed, and, more importantly, communicate with friends using instant messaging after Facebook removed messaging functionality from the main app.
Tilting through full-screen photos using the phone’s accelerometer was cool, but my friends don’t usually share gorgeous photos on Facebook. The assumption that people carefully edit photos after shooting with fancy cameras was also a misstep with Facebook Home.
As an interface designer I was floored by the details: the animations were perfect, the swipe gestures were fun, the onboarding tutorial was clear, and the primary interaction was horizontal instead of vertical. For right-handed users this was a very pleasing interaction (although Instagram recently tried a similar approach with less success). Paper pushed me and the rest of the now defunct startup I worked for at the time to get the details right.
I hope to one day build an app as beautiful and delightful as Facebook Paper.