Path for iOS 7: Better Late Than Never

It took 146 days since the public release, and 246 days since the preview and announcement for Path to hop on the iOS 7 bandwagon. What took them so long? We may never know. But, what we do know is the new-ish aesthetic for Path is here, in hopes to rekindle the flame it once had with many of it’s users.

The Update

Released yesterday, the “redesign” as many are calling it, isn’t at all a redesign. It’s a re-skin. And even then, that may be giving it a bit more credit than it’s due. Sure, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but I have a hard time saying with complete honesty that Path isn’t broken; or if not broke, isn’t pushing any boundaries to keep up user’s interest.

The new look of Path isn’t anything new to us. The textures are gone and it utilizes the paradigms we now see as standard within the iOS ecosystem: blur for the search bar, swiping gestures from the side as a means of navigation, and the top bar of the app now goes full-height taking the red up into the iOS status bar. Other than that, there isn’t really anything visually different about the Path update.


As far as performance in the update goes, it does deserve credit for being much faster and less glitchy when working through the navigation, particularly when scrolling through your timeline and making your way through the various levels of navigation. I can’t say for sure whether this is due to the texture-less design being less resource-intensive, improvements in programming, or a combination of the two, but it’s certainly an improvement over previous iterations.

The few above aesthetic changes and performance improvements aside, there isn’t much to say. It’s the exact same Path experience we’ve seen for the past few years. Which leaves me – and many others – wondering why it took them so long to make such comparatively minor updates.

Possible Reasons

I can’t draw any definite conclusions and certainly don’t desire to start any rumors, but with minor updates after such a long time, there’s only a few possibilities I can think of to answer the question, “why?”

Could it be Path was working on something extremely different for months on end, just to decide it wasn’t what they wanted, thus leading them to fall-back on the safe, but rather bland option? This could most definitely happen, but my gut tells me if there was something extremely new coming from Path, a few words would’ve leaked out by now and not a peep has been heard by anyone I know.

On a related possibility, maybe this is simply a short-term solution to suffice while they put the finishing touches on something larger. It isn’t out of the realm of possibilities and the lack of any major desire for press would reflect this, as to not draw too much attention to the app until their ready to release something much more dramatic.


Last Thoughts

Ultimately, other than those working on Path, we don’t know. Maybe this update is it. Maybe there isn’t anything more to come; they just wanted to visually flatten their existing experience and include some performance improvements. Granted if that’s the case, it probably took them much longer than it should have, it’s a possibility.

The update isn’t a bad one by any means, as it makes small, safe, incremental improvements. But from those I know and the talk in various circles, Path is dying a slow death and safe bets aren’t going to be fixing this sinking ship.

Their recent lay-offs, of approximately 20% of Path’s employees, were said to be in “support of continued innovation”, but if this update is a sign of things to come, it’s not looking pretty. Either Path is just sitting by and watching as things go by, or one of my above theories is holding true. For the remaining 80% of staff, let’s hope it’s the latter.

If you haven’t update Path, be sure to do so. If you deleted Path a long time ago and forgot you even created an account, head on over to the App Store and give it a download to check out the update. Once you’ve done either of those, or if you’ve already played around with it, what are your thoughts on it?

Jumpstarting a Design Community

Understand Your Compensation

Designer Monoculture

The State of Design Leadership

The Science of Product Design

Interview with Michael Flarup: Co-Founder and Lead Designer at Robocat

The Importance of Design Conventions