So many news feeds, not enough personalized and design-conscious curation. That was the problem that Flipboard, the award-winning Android and iOS app, solved for millions of users.
The app, created by CEO Mike McCue and developer Evan Doll, has seen standout startup success, with 8 million users registered since its 2010 launch.
Flipboard is a curation tool that makes it easy and (and pleasurable) to browse content from a variety of different feeds, from newspapers and blogs, to Twitter and Facebook profiles.
The display takes advantage of the touchscreens on tablets and smartphones, allowing users to “flip” through the content in much the same way they would their favourite magazine (without resorting to skeuomorphism or shoehorning print design into digital clothing)
It’s this kind of innovation that has given the app an edge on its competition. Last month Flipboard expanded its monetization options to paywall, as TechCrunch reported, announcing a partnership with The New York Times.
The company will also begin integrating audio content into the app. Thanks to a partnership with National Public Radio, SoundCloud and Public Radio International, Flipboard’s users will be able to listen to their favourite radio stations while browsing.
Of course, Flipboard is faced with the same existential question as the media outlets that power the app’s content: How do you make money off free, digital media?
Sparksheet editor Dan Levy got a chance to pose this question to Flipboard Curator Mia Quagliarello at SXSW Interactive this spring. Her response: If an app’s design can be informed by print magazines, why can’t the ads?