After downloading the Flipboard app for iPad, the web became lackluster. Flipboard presents a revolutionary user interface: the ability to “flip” through content transformed into an online magazine–a big, colorful, content-rich magazine tailored specifically to users interests. It’s the best of crowd-sourced content curation with stunning visual representation. News, social media, arts, photography, sports, can all be browsed in an easy, aesthetically pleasing way with content refreshed and updated every time I open the app. The ease with which I found the information I was looking for at any given moment was surprising, and my interest was captured and kept much longer than in a regular web surfing session. No wonder Apple named it their iPad App of the Year in 2010.
There must be a Flipboard for the web! But when I went online to install it, there was no web equivalent!
Why in the world not?
Why would such a dynamic and desirable content distribution system not harness the complete possibilities of the larger internet on desktop computers and fully optimized screens?
Some deeper digging revealed that Flipboard was absent from the web mainly for rights issues. How could one company manage the myriad of copyright and author’s rights over a terrain so vast as the open web? Apparently, at that point, Flipboard couldn’t.
The only consolation to a non-Flipboard optimized web was a meager one: this article on four alternatives to Flipboard.
Just so you don’t get overly excited, I’m listing them here for you:
Five Shortfalls in the Web Version of FlipBoard
1.) No social network magazines…yet? Flipboard calls itself a “social magazine” in part because of the personalization of the app and the ease of sharing but also because social networks like Twitter and Facebook are translated into its magazine style. The beauty of this feature is its simplicity: flip through those cat pictures, quotations and family photos, stopping on the important posts and skipping right past the Aunt Millie’s offensive political blather. I anxiously await this feature for the web….
2.) The web experience is not as seamless as the app. Content on the web is not optimized within Flipboard: clicking on a story to read takes you out to the web version, which is not flippable. There is no option to search for a known magazine and the only real discoverability of magazines is by browsing Flipboard content. True to its social nature, the easiest way to find content is through others who have shared it, usually on social networks like Twitter or Facebook.
3.) Flickr photos are not compatible…yet. Will this come? Or will Flipboard and Flickr become rivals? Too early to tell: the only thing we do know is that Flickr content is not currently available on the Flipboard platform.
4.) You still have to create a Flipboard account via the app on a mobile device in order to customize your experience. If you just want to read magazines online, you don’t need the account but the major selling point of Flipboard is its customization.
You can make your own magazines! Public or private, Flipboard is open to content creation that can be bundled and shared with friends! The possibilities here for web designers and online content creators are endless. A beautifully curated magazine could direct considerable traffic to your website or online business. Right now content on Flipboard is in demand—especially accessible, impeccably tailored and eye-catching content—so creation of a stunning magazine would be an excellent way to get noticed.
Emily Cantin researched, co-authored and created original artwork for this article.