Pinterest Is For Women
From my experience, shopping with women is messy. Kinda like seeing them scroll through Pinterest boards.
Of course not all women are like so, but to me discount season is a silly season. Hundreds fight each other off for the front row seat at huge piles of clothes, desperatly trying to find the best deal or the right size.
Note: This is something I've been thinking to write about for quite some time but been trying to find the right approach to do it. Before I go on with this humble rant about women's personality I must say that I don't mean in any way to sound sexist or whatsoever. It is a known fact that both genders think and react in slight different ways. So I'll try to stay as impartial as possible although this will always be my humble personal opinion. Now on to the topic!
The ever interesting stats-intro
We probably all heard or read something similar to this post’s title. And yes this is kind of a late post (but with a twist in it!). Somewhere across the web are numerous posts talking about the amounts of recipes and wedding photos that Pinterest holds. This contrasts with other approaches like Fancy (which was my initial term of comparison to Pinterest when I first saw it) with it’s high-end designer products.
Fact is, studies regarding users from the United States (60% of Pinterest users) show that 83% are indeed female, most of them in the ages of 35 and 44. And when you think of it in interface and persona terms it kinda makes sense.
A quick (and real) case studie
On a certain occasion while shopping with my girlfriend I found myself entering this new shop that seemed bit a different. It was a makeup shop that seemed very keen on making a good first impact on customers with its bold and yet clean decoration.
Lots of LCD screens on the walls, dance music playing loud enough and these tall and crowded showcase counters filled with all sorts of makeup. But not just random mixed lipsticks and nail polish bottles. These were neatly grid ordered, rainbow color sorted jars. All of them with a sample version close to it just waiting for someone to try it out. In short there were lots and lots of pieces of the same product in what seemed to be any woman’s dream make-up cabinet.
This is obviously very appealing. And it's not just because of the large neatly ordered quantities but also because of the whole stimulant environment created to appeal all senses.
In a make up store there's usually not much taste (unless someone accidentally eats some lipstick I assume) but there’s always a lot of fragrances going around, so there's smell. There's also a lot of touch and skin feel when someone tries something. But on this particular shop there’s something else! Hearing and vision. The 2 most important senses to a human being in the shape of cool party music and visual stimuli. Being vision responsible for 83% of the information we collect from all of the five senses (according to a document from Oklahoma State University) all top brands know how important it is to show off and to catch consumer's attention through vision.
This particular brand knew that it was important to stand out by calling on all senses but it managed to appeal to the sight just as well.
Back to the Pinterest case
Much like in the makeup store I believe that Pinterest's secret lies in the way it displays things and the grid itself: the tight look of masonry-like aligned posts. I don't intend to explain the phenomenon in deep psychological levels or in terms of human evolvement from animals. But from the moment I walked in on this store it stroke me as an explanation for the gender difference I'd read about.
The way things are put together on Pinterest boards just makes the flow happen in a very smooth way. We're quickly grabbed into the loop and it has this mesmerizing effect that keeps us scrolling down through dozens of items from interesting categories we’ve curated ourselves or that have magically been sorted out for us. Sure we had seen similar apps in purpose or interface but not with this broad level of acceptance.
This specific kind of interface achieved the title of
time-sucker because of it’s specific combination of features and content types.
Nice, cool and good looking little things tuck together in large quantities, neatly arranged in a perfect and artificial cork board. The infinite factor adds up the final touch to make it as hipnotizing as it is. And that's just for absorbing information!
Regarding the users input and response, the flow for repin is easy enough. Not as easy as clicking a like button but simple and universal enough. You can still simply like a pin and that's ok as well. And the fact that almost from the start there was a bookmarklet really must have contributed to the large amounts of information posted by users.
So as Pinterest continues to rise in numbers it's still amazing how it got so large in such a small timeframe. And while it keeps feeding discussions on how there's no money to gain on this new social space it’s success still amazes both designers and entrepreneurs. I believe it definitely has something to do with this particular interface+content mix and the fact that it appealed to people's most inner ways of thinking. As always we’re curious to see what's next to come.