Nuzzel vs. Flipboard
Nuzzel is attempting to solve information overload by surfacing news recommendations from social media and centralizing them on one app. It shows articles your friends have shared, sorted by popularity. The app has hundreds of feeds that cover different topics and sorted through communities, such as “Social Media Influencers” and “Wikileaks.” The app is dependent on content from other platforms, and instead just finds new ways of sorting it and making it more accessible to users. It relies heavily on social media to build your content feeds. The user can then save their favorite feeds, or look at recommended feeds. They also have a feature in which users can create their own “newsletters” and other users can subscribe to them through email. This feature is a very literal interpretation of their main value prop: news curated by people.
Flipboard is also a news aggregation app that utilizes social networks as a method for curating content. The user is able to add topics they care about to their homepage, such as technology or education. The user can make “personalized magazines” which contain content about topics they care about, curated by influencers in the field. For example, I could select business and then select topics related to business such as markets. It then builds a magazine based on my preferences by pulling articles influencers have shared relating to that topic. I also have the option to build my own magazine, where I can collect and share stories. I can do this for my own reference, or share the magazine with other people.
Flipboard has a slightly different take on social than Nuzzle. Flipboard focuses more on recommending content shared by influencers, whereas Nuzzle focuses more on “real people,” ie. people who have chosen to create newsletters. On both platforms you can access feeds from people in your social network. I would argue that Flipboard’s model is stronger because as a user I would care more about what influencers in the field are reading than the general public. There is also risk in only reading content shared by your personal network because you risk only being exposed to certain opinions and perspectives.
Both platforms allow users to choose content based on their interests. This is interesting because if I am interested in niche subjects, such as applications of AI in ed-tech platforms, I can subscribe to that and see content related to that subject. This provides a superior experience to consuming news from social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, where I only see what is trending for everyone.
Both Nuzzle and Flipboard encourage users to build their own content streams. Nuzzle does this through the newsletter feature, whereas Flipboard asks users to create their own magazine. They then encourage users to send this content to other users. This has the potential to create a network effect, where as a user I am encouraged to bring other users onto the platform. Both of these platforms are committed to using social as a means for curating content, but this only works if people are actively engaging on the platform regularly. Thus, both apps had to have some platform generated lists, because otherwise the apps value would fluctuate depending on how many people were actively engaging on it.
The interaction design of Flipboard is designed to make readers stay on the platform for longer. It’s addicting to keep flipping through the articles, because you never know if something even more interesting will come up next. This is advantageous to Flipboard because the more articles you view, the more ads you see, which results in more revenue for them. The downside to the reader it makes it tempting to just skim the headlines, because you’re more focused on what comes next then on diving into an article. Although I prefer the design of Flipboard, I feel I would view the newsletters more on Nuzzel because I am already in the habit of checking my email regularly. It is hard to form a new habit around opening a new app. I think in order for Flipboard to overcome this obstacle they would have to strategically use notifications to prompt the user to open it.