I can see why people find Pinterest appealing. It’s yet another way to share web content, but the subject categories keep it organized and the layout (replete with pictures) makes it more engaging than sites that are more heavily populated with just links.
I also appreciate that Pinterest seems to have forced people to think about the visual parts of what they post and share. Want to look good on Pinterest? You’d better have a pretty picture. But there are usability aspects I find incredibly frustrating.
My problem with Pinterest is that, from a purely social standpoint, it’s not easy or intuitive to use. When I first got invited, the site suggested I follow my Facebook friends. Fine. Since then, I get notifications when people follow me. Great. But finding a way to quickly and easily change who I follow? Nope.
I’m somehow following people I don’t know. How do I unfollow them? You tell me.
When I hover the item I see buttons to Repin, Like, or Comment. Doesn’t help. Only after clicking the user’s name and going to their profile page am I given the option to unfollow them. Not helpful, especially if I want to do some spring cleaning.
But what about those recent friends who have added me. What if I want to see what they’re pinning and follow them? Also way more work than it should be.
- Go through the list.
- Click on each one to get to their page.
- Click the follow button.
- Navigate back to my page.
That’s about 4 steps too many. This is the dynamic web! When I hover the name, give me something I can click on! Or design a “follow all” link right next to the name in the activity box.
There is a slightly easier way to do this if you and all your friends are integrated through Facebook. Click the “Find Friends” link in the dropdown under your name on the top right of the page. If you have Facebook friends on the site, you can add all of them or add individual ones from the same page. But that only works if everyone’s on Facebook.
Pinterest clearly gave a lot of thought to their design. It’s a visually engaging, appealing site. But from a usability perspective, there is some core functionality that should be much easier than it currently is.