Products like Flipboard are attractive because they are consciously and carefully designed to highlight the content, instead of crowding the experience with UI tools. The design of these experiences is being driven by new thinking in interaction design, where visual design is central to the experience, rather than painted on at the end. Once the traditional elements of UI are torn away, designers can concentrate their efforts on working iwth the content that remains. And it ends up looking a lot like Print. If we pull Visual Design to the front of the product creation process, we can break free of the bad design habits that surround us. As Interaction Designers we can stop polishing our icons, and focus on communicating the content inside, clearly and with style. The rewards are simple: more beautiful products that are easier to use, and beautifully branded experiences with more room for self-expression.
Mike hits the nail on the head in this fantastic essay on what interactive designers can learn from the rich history of print design. In the end, however, it all comes back to content. The problem with a lot of interactive design—especially in regards to editorial work—is more than typographic (though that is also lacking). The struggle is getting that interactivity out of the way so the content can return to the focus. I wrote a little bit about this this past November:
I think the time of calling ourselves print designers or web designers or interaction designers is coming to a close. We are all now content designers.
Secondly, I think using Flipboard as an example is perfect. Flipboard is easily my favorite app and when I pick up my iPad, nine times out of ten, Flipboard is the first app I open. Why is that? The guys as Flipboard have figured out how to remove extraneous interactive elements allowing me to easily get to the content I want. It has quickly become my go to place for the latest news.