Beautiful Apps: The New Foursquare

By on May 2, 2016 in Design Trends

If Foursquare and I were to ever have a relationship status, it would say "it's complicated." You see, I got my start as a community manager with Brightkite. Yeah, remember those guys? We were early on the location-based scene, and by the time Foursquare came around about a year later with their "gamification" and "mayorships" I was reluctant to embrace what felt like a very cold and competitive experience.

When Brightkite changed focus I still couldn't bring myself to use Foursquare regularly. I moved on to Gowalla for the simple reason that it was a pleasure to use. Checking in was fun and finding stupidly cute items that ultimately meant nothing made me smile. Well, we all know what happened to Gowalla. (Looking at my history, it's not surprising that I was also an avid supporter of HD-DVD.) After Gowalla's demise, I grumbled and whined and eventually went back to using Foursquare, which still felt very utilitarian to me -- focused on data, not people. That is until recently. This latest update surprised me completely.

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An app that used to be text-heavy and cluttered is now elegantly laid out and much easier on the eyes. Call to action buttons have been transformed into big, friendly icons…just inviting you to tap them. As a result it's more compelling to interact with your friends, especially since your friend stream is no longer just limited to local updates. You now see everyone's updates accompanied by clever icons that represent the type of update. What's interesting here is the tip updates are now blue, giving them more weight than other activity. I like this detail in particular because it puts the focus on sharing things with the community vs. personal updates.

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Speaking of details, they really nailed it with the use of textures, drop shadows, and patterns to add depth and make the app feel almost tangible. All of the elements are spaced well and given room to breath, with the subtle perforations being an especially nice touch.

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Foursquare’s new direction and updates are proof that when great design is driven by user-experience, everything flows together: you want to push buttons, to interact with friends and venues. You just want to have fun exploring the app’s environment, which is the type of experience Foursquare had sorely been missing up to this point, at least for me.

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What are your thoughts on the new Foursquare?

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