Fotopedia Creates A Flipboard Photo Magazine, But Its New HTML5 Site Looks Even Better

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For the past year, Fotopedia has been laser-focused on reinventing the photo book for the iPad. Now, with 7 apps and 4.8 million downloads under its belt, it is turning its attention back to its website and creating more magazine-like experiences. Today it is launching Fotopedia Magazine on Flipboard and pushing out a complete overhaul of its website, which is built on HTML5 and designed for tablet and smartphone browsers.

“What we decided was to go to a different level of granularity,” CEO Jean-Marie Huillot tells me, “something that is always fresh, always new, to attract people back to have more engagement.” The Fotopedia Magazine in Flipboard will highlight five photo essays every day, featuring the high-end photographers who contribute to Fotopedia. These stories are told mainly through pictures that you can swipe through, with a paragraph of text and captions. Photo feeds are popular on Flipboard, and in this case Flipboard is creating the new channel from the new @FotopediaMag Twitter feed.

When you drill down into an article, it takes you directly to the HTML5 site (within the Flipboard wrapper), which is designed for touchscreens. But even in a desktop browser, it looks gorgeous and gets you into full-screen slide shows quickly. Here is an example of photo essay on Iceland, and another one exploring the Indian state of Rajasthan.

I actually prefer going to the Fotopedia site in my iPad browser than going through Flipboard. Try both and you will see an example of how HTML5 sites can be better than apps. The navigation is cleaner, and the wrapper doesn’t get in the way. But Flipboard is still an important distribution partner, and will introduce Fotopedia to a whole new audience.

Fotopedia’s grand ambition is to become the photo encyclopedia of the world. Its audience is global, with nearly 40 percent in Asia, 30 percent in Europe, and 28 percent in America. China alone represents 30 percent of its audience. It has attracted a community of 30,000 photographers and curators, and through its iPad apps offers a way for them to get more exposure and even a little money.

The iPad photo books are popular, with 4.8 million downloads and growing. But once you’ve flipped through one of the books, like the one it did with National Geographic, there is not much reason to pick it up every day. On average, active users come back twice a month. The tablet magazine format will get people coming back every day.