We automate the whole process of layout design and editing by slotting your content into custom-designed page layouts — like fitting puzzle pieces together. We start with a set of page layouts created by human designers. Then our layout engine figures out how to best fit your content into these layouts, considering things like page density, pacing, rhythm, image crop and scale. In many ways, that is the key to Flipboard’s signature look and feel: at its heart are the work of real designers.
I’ve worked on 4 major publishing sites at Ai. 2 were our custom django publishing platform, the other two were wordpress with heavy customization on the backend. The hardest part is designing, in advance, article templates that can be infinitely flexible for an army of editors you may never meet. (We try to meet all we can, but staffs change over time)
The way that flipboard handles this is fascinating. I wish we had time on one of these sites to get to this level.