8 Missing Links In Pinterest

by Prasant Naidu on June 2, 2012

in Insights

pinterest missing link

Image Courtesy: doreenrainey.com

If 2012 is going to go down the history books as the Facebook year then it would also be remembered as the year of Pinterest. Although Pinterest has been around since 2010, it only came into limelight from last year. One of the few reasons being the launch of its iPhone app, Facebook integrating it into it’s open graph, etc. Today Pinterest is the third most visited website in US but then outside of US, it is yet to achieve the same success.

Pinterest, which has been branded as a network for women, had attracted me initially but with time I have lost interest. Not because it was labeled as a women’s site but because of some of it’s shortcomings in usability. I logged in some days ago just to witness the same problems that existed before. Here’s a list of them:

1. Home page: The biggest problem I have is when I land up on my home page. Yes it is appealing for the first few times but later on, it has appeared as a visual junk yard to me. Not that I follow too many people but since people today share more than they consume so an alternative way to display could be thought of. I think a similar situation persisted in Twitter and that’s the reason why we have lists to control them and be able to consume them. Can Pinterest allow me to have lists in the profile page, which can be tailored to my needs?

2. Search: I spend maximum time on social media and when I join any network I look for the “Search” feature to explore more. Once you have joined all your friends, you would love to find more people or boards to explore more. In the case of Pinterest, the search becomes more important since it is a site about pictures and we love to see more and more of them. Definitely Pinterest has a search but then it can make it better, which would allow pinners to connect to others easily. Certainly, some advanced features are required to the basic search Pinterest is providing as of now.

3. Interest based content: From consuming everything, we are moving onto curated information and I think it can be done in Pinterest. Other than following the same set of friends from Facebook and Twittter, can Pinterest show me content from people that is of my interest. For example, since I love glass painting I would love to follow people who have the same interest and share the same kind of content. Pinterest has categories but they are very broad and again neither can they be sorted nor displayed in a way that I would want.  Along with this, Pinterest can add a feature saying “People To Follow” based on interests like it has “Friends To Follow” which would definitely increase the levels of engagement in the site.

4. Popular: The Popular tab is useful to explore more but lacks features like customizations and showing me what is popular in my network. Can the tab have categories so that it can list all popular pins or boards under one category, wouldn’t that be helpful? Besides this, it would be great if Pinterest can populate a small feed which will show me what is popular in my network too. Popular is a great feature but right now it has not been designed to be used to it’s full extent.

5. Social Sharing: Initially, I had a thought that open graph by Facebook has extensively helped developers. It has, no doubt but at the expense of user experience. Social sharing apps are becoming a spam with every passing day. Pinterest has an option to disable social sharing to your networks but why is it that every time it has to populate all my activities and show people on other networks. Wouldn’t it be great if I have the control on what to show and what not to? Time for Pinterest to think on this direction too.

SEE ALSO: How Indian Ecommerce Should Use Pinterest?

7. Analytics: Finally we all love numbers don’t we? Can Pinterest have an added feature, which could give some more insights other than the number of likes and comments. We have third-party apps like Pinerly who do the job but it would be great to have it from Pinterest rather than logging into another site to get the services.

8. Brand Integration: Recently, Simply Zesty had published some interesting case studies on how brands are using Pinterest. All good but how does one know which are the brands that are using it? For example, the other day I was looking for Indian brands that  are using Pinterest. The only way possible was via search and the results were not helpful. Wonder if Pinterest plans to integrate brands and show them in different categories. So that users can quickly search about them and follow them.

I am sure most of the points that I have mentioned here would have been discussed or may be on the to-do list of the Pinterest team. However I hope that Pinterest doesn’t adopt the route of Google Plus or Twitter in releasing required features. Otherwise, it will affect the user’s experience, which could turn away users from the network.

Do you face any other problem apart from what I have mentioned or do you consider that the network is perfect right now. 

Prasant Naidu

Founder and Blogger at Lighthouse Insights.

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  • http://fredmcclimans.com/ Fred McClimans

    (Also posted on SocialMediaToday)
    Nice post, Prasant. I can see your background as a business analyst shining through. The points you raised are all good ones, but not just for Pinterest. Increasingly, “social” or “online” businesses, as well as users, are finding it difficult to keep pace with the explosive growth of technology-rich features and the shifting demands of consumers. In an era where “change is the new constant”, how do you keep the attention of users who have become used
    to constant change (whether they like it or not).

    One of the interesting points you made at the beginning of your post was that the initial visual appeal turned to visual boredom – something that I suspect many have encountered as well (based on my own experiences and those of many friends). The challenge then becomes “where is the value-add” to keep a user’s attention? For value to be found, there has to be a strong use-case, which in turn requires some level of “best practices” for the site/app/etc. Unfortunately, in the time it takes somebody to figure out a “true best practice”, the site (or the user’s requirements) may have become obsolete or shifted/evolved in a new
    direction.

    In this case, your requirements (expectations, rate of change, etc.) are moving faster than Pinterest can keep up with (a point not lost on some companies who have started to build out their own add-ons).

    I think what you describe here with Pinterest is one of the reasons we’ve seen such rapid development and change within existing powerhouses like Facebook – they are willing to undergo the pains of constant feature change because they know they need to keep things fresh (and are at that point where their user based is so hooked that they
    can afford to do so).

    Again, a very good post, especially in the broader social media context. Thanks.

    • http://lighthouseinsights.in/ Prasant Naidu

      True Fred the challenge is there and I can understand what you are trying to express. But then don’t you think these companies are missing out some basic things that are required to make a user experience better. i am sure they are aware. Facebook knew its chat sucked big time but they did only when G+ launched.
      What are your thoughts on that.
      Another example would be Twitter, it never allowed sharing of images initially and it did after a long time.
      Pinterest should introduce some of the required features. otherwise as you said people would on and today they do really fast :)
      thanks for your comments Fred, really liked them.

  • http://twitter.com/AgooBiz AgooBiz.com

    Interesting Post about Pinterest’s Strengths and Weaknesses – could be applied to all networks.

    If WE had to summarize all your comments about Pinterest into a few words it would be:

    Pinterest needs to improve 2 major things:
    a. Search Capabilities
    b. Categorization

    All the 8 missing links either fall into a. or b. If these major improvements are made, the user experience would significantly improve.

    Although the main subject of this article is Pinterest [which AgooBiz.com uses by the way], your advice for the Pinterest team could be used by any Social Network out there.

    The make-or-break of any/all social networks today is whether the users enjoy coming back, enjoy using the platform for longer periods, & whether these users get some real value out of devoting their time to the usage.

    The reason Pinterest was originally thought of as a women’s platform is due to two things:
    a. the activity itself – sharing one’s interests visually was not that popular with men traditionally [but things will change]
    b. approx. 80% of active users on Social Media/Social Networks are women [but the male side is gradually rising]

    Great Post Prasant! Thank you.

    Steve Kavetsky
    co-Founder/President
    AgooBiz.com // The Social Commerce Network
    “WE work greater than me”

    • http://lighthouseinsights.in/ Prasant Naidu

      (Also posted on Social Media Today)Steve thanks for your thoughts and yes the thoughts could be applied to any network. I felt more for Pinterest becasue i want it to grow more. i just don’t want it to be a network for women but for everyone. We all love pictures and we all love to show them off(generally). Yes it has been more liked by women but then it should work on the search. Today social media is not what everyone likes but its more about me. if i want to connect pinners who love oil painting then in my area then it should have the technology to support it. Right now Pinterest is lacking here.I am not a great guy but been a blogger who has followed this small space and I think that interest based networks will have more liking. What do you think :)By the way thanks for understanding my poitns on my post and i love your tag line - ”WE work greater than me” sharing it now :)

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