Why I have a love / hate relationship with Flipboard


Third party apps basically serve one purpose for me on all of my iOS devices -- they are a way to kill time while I wait. That's why I love Flipboard. It is the perfect app for wasting time in waiting rooms, while I wait for a train, or during long commercial breaks that I can't fast forward through. Facebook and Twitter rely too heavily on people to create content, and watching YouTube videos is not a great way to pass the time while in public. Unfortunately the reddit AMA app came after AMAs became a sea of celebrities promoting upcoming television shows and movies making the entire thing a total bore.

Video games are also a great time waster but they can also be too distracting. It also sucks when you have to end a game prematurely because you've been called into your doctor's office, or when your train arrives and you have to find a seat.

This leaves Flipboard as my favorite option because it gives me more control over my news feed than Facebook and Twitter, and it is easy to save articles to read later for when I get interrupted. However Flipboard isn't perfect, and even though they have been constantly improving it over the years, there are still a few things that could be better.

The biggest issue plaguing Flipboard is there is no standard on how content is delivered. This was fine when Flipboard was a new app, but five years after its release you think Flipboard, Inc. could demand that its main content providers feature a layout better tailor-made for its service. Clicking an article on Flipboard is basically a crap shoot, some websites fit the app's layout nicely while others are too small to read on smaller devices like the iPhone 4s. Sometimes half the article is missing, captions for pictures are screwy, embedded videos don't show or annoying ads on the website just destroy everything. Reading stuff on Flipboard can be a real mess sometimes and it can very disappointing, especially if you were looking forward to the advertised article or video.

The way content is delivered also makes the "mute" option worthless. Flipboard offers users the ability to block certain authors they don't want to read, but some authors can't be blocked due to the way they provide their content. This isn't intentional by the specific outlets part, it is just how Flipboard works. This is unfortunate for users who want more control over their news feed.

The social aspects of Flipboard are great. I rarely share articles with my friends, but when I do it it easy to remember how and I can send them through my Messages app on any iOS devices. Comments are fun to leave and read and you can follow your favorite Flipboard users. It is also easy to create "Magazines" where you can curate your favorite articles under specific topics.

Out of all the apps installed on my devices Flipboard probably gets the most use slightly above games. It is a great news aggregator for iOS devices and highly recommended. I just wish the content could be cleaned up somehow and delivered in a more uniformed way that fits the overall layout of the app. I can't imagine it isn't worth the time for Flipboard to partner with more websites to achieve this goal.

Flipboard is available for free on the Apple App Store.


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