Dancing to the tune of Pinterest, are you?

It was a tiring day and a tiring experience to see another startup (Qyuki.com) fall pray to the Pinterest inspired look. This coming from a start-up that is being promoted by two prominent personalities from the Indian media scene. Yes, I am talking about Shekhar Kapur and A. R. Rehman. Both acclaimed nationally and internationally for their achievements. Their intentions are good and the concept is promising. Then why get into the mediocrity of imitation?

Are you enchanted by Pinterest?

Pinterest has inspired sites to follow its footstep. But is it good for them?
| Artwork from http://pachydermexpress.blogspot.in

Pinterest has inspired more than 50 odd sites around the world to follow its path designing a user experience. Designers have gone overboard copying the concept as it is very graphically rich and catchy. That perhaps can be a creative explaination for a designer, but surely not for a business stakeholder.

Here are some pointers for businesses to think when they start looking back at Pinterest as easy road to website design success –

Are you expecting your users to be as casual and wanderers?
Pinterest has people from all walks of life coming in and creating collection of beautiful pictures. Most of the pictures are not even linking to external sites nor do they carry information that can be consumed or refered. In most cases, the visuals itself speak out most of the time. Most of the content type has got to do with visual imagery only, nothing more.

Do you thing you have a differentiator?
Keeping everything like pinterest has its pitfall. A major one being that user might think of it as another ‘Pinterest like’ website and move on. A similar story

Are you looking at UGC or curated content?
The point is simple, if your site encourages user-generated content (UGC) then perhaps it makes sense to allow them to express it through sharing their interest with the larger community. But if you are the one to generate the content for consumption, chances are that the user would be interested in something specific and not a general wall of random stuff. Which means that search and navigation would be the primary sources of action for the user and filters and sorting options will give them accuracy for the sought data. Also, think about the context. How are you planning to work on that. It’s not impossible, just that it would be a challenge to be banking on the traditional elements of design while making it pinteresty.
Do you have complex content hierarchy?
Pinterest model follows a horizontal content hierarchy. So one has to keep in mind that this is a UI that will not support vertical hierarchy based content structure. You might have to resort to traditional navigation to support such structures.

Are you looking to invest in responsive design?
Responsive design involves creating websites with modern technology so that your site is compatible for all devices and manages to rearrange the content and navigation to suite specific device types, like smart phones and tablets. It ain’t difficult but requires investment in time and money. Not all businesses can afford that in the beginning. So one must be cautious about the same when trying to attempt such layouts.

Finally, Are you up for constant comparison?
I guess I need not say more on this. You get the point.

Here is Pinterest in a nutshell –

  • Visual
  • Casual
  • Simple (Pin what you want)
  • Social (Important)
  • Collaborative (And hence rich in content)
  • Engaging
  • Non intrusive (at least for the time being)

Understand the DNA of the legacy that Pinterest has built. See if your vision for business matches that legacy. Make a wise choice.

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