Paper: FiftyThree

Curator: Jenny Lam
date: June 27, 2013
Categories: Experience Design, Illustration
Tags: apps, ipad, tools, user experience
Paper app product tour screenshot

Paper by FiftyThree is a well-executed app designed specifically for touch interface so that you can capture ideas, sketches and drawings on your iPad.

As someone who has tried out eight different sketching and note-taking apps on the iPad (I counted), Paper wins hands down. It’s not even close.

Just as their product tours spell it all out, they’ve created a user experience that strikes the perfect balance between utilitarian and expressive.

The app introduces a few new mandatory gesture paradigms you must learn, like the two-fingered, counterclockwise motion to “rewind” or “undo.” Or the “tap and hold” to pick up a page while the other hand swipes to relocate the spread in your Moleskine-esque notebook. As with any well-done UI innovation, it takes just one try to get over the learning hump and then you move on.

There aren’t any fussy settings or fine-tuned controls to deal with; there isn’t even any keyboard typing, for that matter. It’s got the essential features without feeling dumbed down.

The creators of the app have done an incredible job editing the tools and color palettes available. (Sorry, you don’t get the entire RGB color wheel.) Instead, they’ve provided super thoughtful color palettes of seven colors at a time that miraculously work and blend well, which makes it really difficult to make something look bad.

This one goes near the top of my Design Envy list. Nice job to the FiftyThree team.

Simple tool tray

Paper notebooks

Example drawing made using Paper

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