It’s been around for less than two years but already Pintrest has become one of the most addictive sites on the web. A simple pinboard style design is a hit with their 3 million users who apparently spend a good portion of their time on the site based on it having reached 421 million page views in October.
What is Pintrest?
In March 2010 Evan Sharp, Ben Slibermann, and Paul Sciarra launched Pintrest as an invite-only site with the goal of connecting people around the world through shared interests. Going on various websites or by asking a friend or colleague, you can get a free Pinterest Invite and have your account activated. Since then people have used the site to collect and organize everything from wedding ideas, home décor, recipes, fashion, and even DIY projects. To “pin” something means an image is saved along with a link to the URL of the original item. Pins are then put on “boards” that users can organize any way they wish.
Sharp, Slibermann and Sciarra came up with the idea for Pintrest as a side project for fun. Avid collectors themselves, they wanted to come up with a better way to collect, organize, and share things online. After working on more than 50 drafts, what they came up with was a grid style layout that works well to enhance the visual aspect of the site while still maintaining a personal feel.
The inspiration for the site’s design comes from physical spaces rather than other websites or apps. A space such as a retail store or a museum is generally organized by category and allows a person to not only see everything that is available but also interact with the display, pick up an item to learn more. or move on. This physical presentation inspired Pintrest’s user-friendly bulletin board design that is easy to browse through and make new discoveries.
Architecture and Web Design
Perhaps basing the design from a three dimensional inspiration such as a museum or a store came about because Evan Sharp was in graduate school studying architecture during 2009 when he and his friends were developing what would become Pintrest. He credits his understanding of architecture for helping him to become a better designer. Years of intense effort to become skilled in architecture has given him the ability to transform concepts and ideas into something real and usable.
Pintrest as a company is trying to build a culture where employees are excited about coming to work every day. More than just loving what they do and having abundant enthusiasm about the product they are creating, Pintrest is trying to build a team of people who have varied and valuable interests outside of their occupation. They are designing a company staffed with people who have an appetite for life and knowledge and who are interesting to work with.
Managing the Obsession
For some Pintrest is simply a place to browse interesting and beautiful things. For others it has become a full-blown obsession. A person could easily spend hours upon hours browsing and pinning, searching home decorating boards, wedding boards, getting ideas for crafting projects or simply looking at funny pictures. Pintrest will display up to 100 relevant or interesting things based on a person’s profile and current pins. It is designed to draw a person in and continue to find new items and images they find interesting.
The key to using Pintrest to compliment your life rather than dominate it is to find inspiration for everyday life, then do it. Pin those great ideas to a craft board then turn the computer off and make the project. Using Pintrest for a spark of creativity can infuse life with more excitement and satisfaction.