Thursday, February 2, 2012

Thoughts on Pinterest

Pinterest is the hot new thing. The new kid on the blog. The new story in town.

On hearing about it from multiple people, I decided to give it a shot. I actually had to wait to be let in and create an account - which made it all the more desired for me! After spending some time in it, I have started to see what makes it so special. Here are some thoughts:

1. Design - obviously, the design is super awesome! But what exactly about the design is so awesome?

As this article would tell you, it is the infinite scrolling and the masonry style layout. Infinite scrolling is a technique used by several new websites, including Facebook. There is no pagination; as you scroll down, the page just refreshes with more content. No effort required on part of the user. The masonry style layout, as the article says, " the most efficient utilization of space possible given varying image heights. It overcomes past layout hurdles and takes vertical height into account when laying out the images, thereby creating a super tight, puzzle piece flow of images on the page. "Simply put, the images are laid out in an efficient manner, and you can scroll forever till you find something that captures your attention.

I will add one more thing; it is the way images "pop." Forgive me for being non-technical, but I am no UI designer. I notice that the contrast of the images to the rest of the page, including backgrounds, comments etc. is so good, that as I scroll down, my eye can dart from one image to another without being interrupted by anything else. That is what makes the scrolling so fast and efficient. And the more I scroll, the more I am likely to discover something interesting. And spend more time on it.

2. Positioning and messaging - The positioning and messaging of the site is outstanding. Let's start with the name - Pinterest. I think of pin and interest. I am slightly confused, but interested. And what do they mean by interest? Is it the money I earn from a savings account, or things I like to do/see/experience?

But the confusion disappears the moment I enter the site. It's your virtual pinboard - ah now I get it! I can pin the things I like on the web, just like I would pin clippings from a magazine to a real-life pinboard. The messaging is simple like other great startups, especially Dropbox, which describe itself as a 'Magic pocket in the cloud.' You could drop anything (file) in it, and pick it up from anywhere. Such simple, intuitive messaging ties technology to real life objects, and turns skeptic visitors into people just waiting to try the product out.

3. Get them started - It is so easy to get started with Pinterest. And I don't mean just signup. I mean you have pins and boards to look at the moment you are on the site. The homepage takes you to the most popular pins on Pinterest. If you have friends on Facebook who are using Pinterest, you are immediately subscribed to them. You can look at what they are interested in, repin the pins, and find similar users/boards and follow them.

4. And keep them coming back - And of course, Pinterest makes it easy to share pins on Twitter, Facebook, blogs etc. Which means even if I have not visited the site, I will see the Pins in some feed and will visit again

So am I an avid user of Pinterest. Not at all actually. Why? Well the most popular pictures are women's clothes, accessories etc. I am not trying to be sexist; it is just currently dominated by items of interest to women. I am sure us tech and business geeks will catch up. Till then, I continue to visit Pinterest occasionally, and follow any news on them very closely.

1 comment:

  1. What are your thoughts on Gentlemint?