This is our conclusion of our series on how to become a Flipboard Pro, and in this last installment, I want to highlight some aspects of Flipboard that I think are a hindrance to becoming the next social medium.
Are you a Flipboard user?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this, too!
First of all, Flipboard’s own information in terms of tutorials is rather sad, hence this series. For example, the FAQ section on the Flipboard editor contains four whole questions and the answers are all four lines or less.
Flipboard has produced a few videos on things like how to search on Flipboard and how to create a Flipboard magazine, but those are like amateur hour. There’s this woman explaining things who’s clearly nervous and we see her swipe and type and click without ever seeing a decent screenshot. There’s no way you can actually see what she’s doing. Just watch the example below.
Aside from that, they don’t include very basic information, like how to change the order of the articles in your magazine. On their site, Flipboard claims that you can easily flip images from Pinterest for instance, when I really can’t get that to work properly. Where’s the tutorial that shows us how to do that right?
Color me stupid, but if you want people to start using your product, you’d better make sure they know how. If I were Flipboard, I’d start making tutorials and videos by the dozens on how to do every single little thing.
More Magazine Options
Flipboard’s unique feature is the possibility to create your own magazine with content you curate from other sites and sources. This is phenomenal and I can see many, many creative ways to use this.
However, the options in making a magazine are still very limited and I can think of a dozen things I’d like to see added:
- Changing the order of the articles more easily
- Choosing how much to display from each article
- Choosing where to place each article and how big the accompanying picture should be
- Option to zoom in/out or to crop featured pictures as to create a visually optimal result
- More design and layout options for the cover, for instance a personalized logo, more fonts, etc
- Making it possible to create a weekly or monthly magazine people can subscribe to, meaning new issues of the same magazine where the older ones stay intact instead of adding to an existing one
- Better integration of mobile and desktop, a refresh button would be handy for instance
More Sharing and Promotional Options
One common complaint from magazine curators on Flipboard is that their magazines are rather hard to find. The sharing options could definitely be improved (right now you can only share via email, Facebook and Facebook) and Flipboard’s own search options can use some improvement. Maybe they could add key words to the magazine descriptions so people can find the right ones more easily?
And on a bit of a side note: integration with more social media and with readers, for instance Feedly, is a necessity as well. There’s no point in trying to become the only social medium people use, they will use different ones anyway, but you can try to make yours as easy and quick as possible.
Copyright and Ads
One big concern when it comes to Flipboard is about copyrights and ads. The first has to do with the fact that curators are using other people’s content to create a magazine. The question is if this is in any way a copyright infringement.
Sometimes the articles, pictures or videos are posted in their entirety, meaning you never actually go to the original source to see them or read them. That’s in a way ‘stealing’ traffic from that site and I’m not sure how I feel about that.
The comparison to Pinterest in that sense is quickly made, where only the picture of a post is shown and people have to go to the original site to read the rest. It’s one of the reasons why Pinterest is known to bring in so much traffic and why you don’t hear the same about Flipboard.
This of course also affects ad revenues. If people never leave Flipboard to read and watch stuff, they never see the ads on the original site. This is an argument you hear a lot. It doesn’t hold true completely though, because it’s the same with any RSS Feed that offers a complete feed and not a partial one.
All in all, I think Flipboard is unique and has great possibilities, but so far is held back by its own limitations. I’m curious to see what improvements they will do in the next months and years.
What do you like and dislike about Flipboard?
Anything you’d like them to change or work on?