Path’s first run is designed to seduce you into trusting the app to help you share intimate moments and thoughts with your closest friends and family. The red linen start screen resembles the cover of a well made dairy. They illustrate the core concepts and functionality of the app via a fictional conversation between a mother and daughter.Instead of creating an “account” you create a “path”, and instead of starting your new “path” with a username, you start it with a photo and your real name.
Path introduces several new UI conventions, including a hovering timestamp and fanning toolbar. Though both are tiny and sit on top of the visually busy “path” of content, the Path team has made both instantly discoverable during the first run. The toolbar fans out from its plus icon the first time you view your path, and the hands of the clock spin as you scroll through content.
The first run experience also removes as many clicks as possible from the account creation process, while gathering quite a lot of personal information. Rather than asking you to type your email address, the app pulls it from your address book. To many people’s surprise, Path was doing other things with your address book which make it difficult to give this first run unconditional praise, there are still more good practices to learn from its design than not.
Our Grade: B
Reviewed by Chris