Design Critique: Pinterest (iOS app)

Pinterest is a popular application that allows users to visually share their interests with others by posting images or videos, and discover new ideas from other Pinterest users’ collections. It provides enormous inspiration. Users can ‘pin’ when they discover ideas to save them to boards, which will keep the ideas organized and easy to find.


figure 1

From the log-in page, Pinterest clearly conveys a message to users to start typing to login by telling straightforwardly to ‘Enter your email’. Although the message is clear and the user will fill the blanks eventually after reading the text, it’s lacking in signifiers and affordances.

Figure 2


Having a blinking text cursor and a blank line will improve the login page. Those signifiers are simply the perceived affordances which help users’ actions without the need for instructions. Also, providing feedback of “!” exclamation mark as an error symbol and a tick mark as a confirmation will enable users to determine whether their action is denied or confirmed immediately (Figure 2-mockup).


Figure 3

These contents at homepages have a good mapping that users control easily by scrolling up and down that employs knowledge in the world. Also, the bottom navigation bar clearly acts as a signifier with contrast color to signify the section location the user is viewing.

However, once the user scrolls down to explore more content, the navigation bar turns invisible instantly. Although it reappears a second later when the user stops scrolling, the delay of a tenth of a second can be disconcerting.


A fixed navigation bar or time adjustment to reappear instantly instead of having the gap of a second will have immediate discoverability that gives users convenient access to other sections at any point without interruption in the reading experience.

Saving content

‘For you’ section (Figure 4A) is the first screen user will view at the homepage. Pinterest suggests random contents for users’ inspiration based on the user’s search history.

While various content is provided in this section, there is a missing signifier ‘+’ that creates the gulf of execution. Although users can save by entering the content’s page, it’s an impediment on the visceral level to browse other endless content summarily.


This gulf can be bridged by placing a discoverable signal ‘+’ each content just like the other particular category page (Figure 4B) that affords saving inspiration at one touch.

Figure 5

The ‘+’ icon function of saving images is easily discoverable. Once the user touches the icon, it gives instant visual feedback by showing a message where it has been saved. However, when the user wants to change the saving location, a gulf of execution occurs. Changing the saving location is not available from this + icon; users need to enter each content in order to arrange the location.


Figure 6

Giving a simplified process of choosing options to users to enable to save other locations by showing a bar, which doesn’t require action and can be ignored if no changes are needed (Figure 6-mockup).

Pinterest’s pins

Figure 7

There is another way users can have options for saving, sending, and hiding by touching and holding the image. Although the key is lacking in the discoverability and affordances, the pin icon implicates a saving feature as they are ‘pinning’; it creates good conceptual models.

Browsing following’s post

Figure 8

The ‘Following’ section reveals a lack of mapping with inconsistent posting layout and hidden ‘save’ button for postings if it contains over one image.

Figure 9


To have the best mapping, unified layout and consistent button placements could be a solution. To be specific, having one post at a time with dots that indicates the stack of images and keeping the ‘+’ for all postings to be consistent with other sections the save button still can be shown when users enter the image can improve this page(Figure 9-mockup).