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The making of a "minimum awesome product"

Flipboard's Evan Doll on design and the importance of being inherently social.

This post is part of the TOC podcast series, which we’ll be featuring here on Radar in the coming months. You can also subscribe to the free TOC podcast through iTunes.


When the Flipboard iPad app first arrived, it helped us to look at the tablet user interface in a whole new way. Suddenly, those ugly RSS feeds became beautiful, and they could be navigated alongside Twitter and Facebook streams. Flipboard’s co-founder, Evan Doll (@edog1203), recently sat down with me to talk about how the app was designed and where it might be heading. Key highlights from the full video interview (below) include:

  • A key to design at Apple: Every time you present the user with a non-essential decision to make, you have failed as a designer. [Discussed at the 1:00 mark]
  • Steve Jobs and user interface design: All those rumors are true. Steve Jobs has indeed played a significant role in even the tiniest of user interface design decisions. [Discussed at 1:20]
  • Exceeding customer expectations: Focus less on producing a “minimum viable product” and more on making it a “minimum awesome product.” [Discussed at 2:28]
  • Anonymized data is a crucial tool: You may not like it, but your browsing habits are being studied. Don’t worry though — it’s not some big brother conspiracy, but rather the Flipboard team looking for ways to improve the user experience. [Discussed at 4:05]
  • Focus on being “fundamentally social”: The social component of your product needs to be organic, not something that’s tacked on later. Flipboard is an “inherently social browser.” [Discussed at 5:15]

You can view the entire interview in the following video.

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