For three years, Flipboard has been a mobile-only application, first with tablets and then eventually smartphones as well. With the impressive growth that Flipboard has seen over the past three years, many users have been upset that they could not access content on their computers.
The founder of Flipboard, Mike McCue, has announced that they are now bringing the ever-popular news aggregation service to browsers. This decision was prompted by the new magazine component of Flipboard which was introduced in March.
Flipboard's magazine-like features such as pinning are being credited with the service's growth from 50 million to 75 million users over the past three months. The app allows users to choose from various news and social media feeds and assembles them in an online magazine format.
Focusing on Mobile
When Flipboard was developed it was specifically made for the first iPad, which was released in 2010. Since then, McCue has only been interested in expanding its mobile offerings and bringing the service to new smartphones and tablets.
This latest development of creating a desktop version of Flipboard has not changed McCue's overall focus. Instead, it is simply an additional feature that Flipboard users have been requesting.
Flipboard will face many competitors in the Web-based news aggregation market, such as Feedly. In absence of Google Reader however, Flipboard will be able to attain more users that have been displaced since Reader shutdown.
The transition from mobile to desktop has never been easier for a company, which is why we have seen applications such as Instagram and Foursquare make the leap. Most people are now easily able to understand how to interact with mobile designs whether they are actually on a mobile device or they are using an application like Instagram on their desktop.
Originally, Flipboard decided to stay away from desktops for two reasons, one was because they saw a great opportunity to be on the iPad, but the other was because they were unhappy with how the desktop design would look.
Therefore coming up with designs that would work on the desktop now that the mobile app is so well known, was even more difficult. McCue said they worked with many different styles, including vertical and horizontal scrolling, as well as a "snowflake" scroll.
Ultimately, they decided to go with almost the same paginated layout that appears on mobile versions of the application. When opening the new app in a browser, the layout is completely dynamic and will resize along with your window.
All About Magazines
There were numerous factors that went into Flipboard's decision to port the app to browsers, but one of them was to build on the potential for their magazine features.
For magazine creators, the mobile version of Flipboard is very limited due to restraints on publishing content. Even the process of adding pinning content to a magazine can be tedious on a phone or tablet, whereas being able to use a big display will add functionality to the service.