Pinterest Usability Testing

The brief:

To produce a report evaluating the user experience for new users opening an account and ‘pinning’ items for the first time using the UK Pinterest website

What I did:

I conducted a study made up of two parts – the heuristic evaluation and the cooperative evaluation reviewed with the aid of volunteers. Combined these two evaluation methods provide an overall picture of Pinterest’s user experience.

Volunteers were aged between 18 and 25 with no previous experience of using Pinterest and used their own laptop, in their own home to replicate the way they would normally access the internet undertaking three tasks.

The tasks

The scenarios for each task were designed to explore some of the main functions of Pinterest.

1. Open a Pinterest account

As a critical task and gateway to accessing Pinterest it was important to gather first impressions, success rates and the time taken to complete this task.

2. Create a ‘pinned’ list of items for your favourite topic

In order to ensure users were emotionally invested in the activity users were asked to create a list of items they were particularly interested in.

3. Pin items you like from other sites and log out when you are finished

As a primary feature the Pinterest browser button was included in the study and observed prior to users logging out of the system (a critical security feature) to complete the final task.

The outcome:

You can read the Pinterest UX Report (PDF), but in summary the study revealed the following three main themes.

Theme 1: Problems signing up

Users experienced an error when selecting the red ‘Sign up’ button on the homepage. Users did not realise that the login fields could also be used to sign up for an account. This double usage caused users to make mistakes.

Theme 2: Tutorial or walk-through

Users found it challenging to create a board to pin items to. The function is located in the personal account section of the website and is not instantly viewable on the main Pinterest feed. There is also no top level menu item linking to the function.

Theme 3: Simplify external pinning

The error rate experienced by users was also the lowest at 14%. This low success rate appears to be due to the fact that 6 out of 7 users did not install the Pinterest browser button when registering. Users were unable to install the Pinterest browser button retrospectively after the initial option had been bypassed when signing up to an account.


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