Since Flipboard launched on iOS, it has been my go-to app for relaxed reading. The way it allows you to flip casually through your favorite sites (like this one, right?) in paginated form has attracted many other users, and the service has made it to Android and Windows Phone in the past couple of years. The only thing missing has been a web version, but finally, that has been put right. Flipboard just launched its service online, and it is a beautiful cross-platform extension to the popular service.
As with the mobile versions, Flipboard.com is highly visual. Stories are illustrated by large images, and GIFs and videos autoplay. The site also works with any screen size, but the development team has chosen not to transplant the familiar page-based system straight onto the web — a tricky thing to do, by any means. Instead, the web version has a linear, scrolling layout, with some stories in bigger form, and others arranged in grids. It works intuitively with a mouse, while still maintaining the glossy, magazine-style feel for browsing.
All the sites and channels you subscribe to in the apps are on offer on this desktop version after you sign in, and you can flip stories into your magazine as before.
The familiar clean article page is missing, however. Online, Flipboard does not extract the text of each article as it does in the apps. Instead, clicking on a story simply takes you through to the original web page. Of course, you can then employ Readability or Safari’s Reader View if, like me, you prefer a clutter-free reading interface. But it would be nice if Flipboard could integrate something like this into future versions of the web app.
As it is, the new site isn’t going to replace Feedly as my main source of desktop reading, but it certainly has the potential to take over, with a little more work.
Head to Flipboard.com to give the new web app a try.