If you’re looking to make use of the social scrapbooking site Pinterest via your iPhone, you’re in for mixed results. Visually, the Pinterest iPhone app (free) shines, and its responsiveness does, too. It scrolls flawlessly, loads images with impeccable speed, and keeps its menu bar pared down to the basic essentials. Pinterest’s functionality on the iPhone, however, leaves much to be desired.
The app lacks a few chief capabilities—for example, you can’t rearrange the order of “pins” (items in a scrapbook) on a board (a themed scrapbook). That’s a function also missing from the full Web version of Pinterest, too, although the app is missing some of its own beats as well. Overall, the free app is worth downloading if you leverage the site for real purpose, such as saving ideas of how to redecorate your home so that you can refer to them while you’re out shopping. If you only use Pinterest for leisure, though, the app gets the job done but may occasionally leave you feeling frustrated at what you can’t do.
Form and Function
The layout of Pinterest’s iPhone app makes sense and works for the small screen, giving users quick access to the most used areas of the app. In my opinion, apps that are based on websites (or Web apps) shouldn’t be laid out in exactly the same way as their full-sized sisters, due to the different way users interface with the two forms. Pinterest’s iPhone app succeeds in being similar enough in style, but different in UI to take advantage of the touchscreen.
In a nutshell, Pinterest is a social scrapbooking site. You create boards that have a theme—such as travel, tattoos, or recipes—and collect images from the Web, or images that you upload to the site, or via your smartphone’s camera. All boards are public, with no privacy options whatsoever. You can follow other users and the boards they collect. Your home screen shows new pins that you or people you follow have recently added. And the site parses content by theme so that you can always search or browse images that relate to your interests at the moment.
In the Pinterest iPhone app, the bottom menu bar has icons for home, search, add a pin, activity (e.g., notifications when another user re-pins one of your pins or starts following you), and profile. When scrolling along the home screen, the bottom menu bar and top header (it’s the Pinterest logo, and a back button when applicable) disappear. They reappear when you reverse-scroll, or move the page back up. In this way, you can toggle the top and bottom banners on and off. It’s a simple but nice effect.
Little things are awry in functionality, though. You can’t rearrange the order of pins on a board, although the same limitation exists on the Pinterest website, too. You can’t change the cover of a board from the app, which is something you can do in the Web version.
Pressing the add button gives you the option to take a photo on the spot to upload, or open a built-in browser to find your next pin online, but when you pin from a URL, the app never prompts you to add a caption or comment. For example, when I tested this feature, I pinned a recipe from a website, and Pinterest automatically entered a caption that had the name of the site and the headline of the page. I assumed I would have the ability to customize that text, just as I would have if I had been using the Pinterest website instead of the mobile app.
Pinterest for Leisure
The Pinterest iPhone app looks lovely and moves with speed, but I’d like to see the development team over at Pinterest focus a bit more on functionality. Obvious capabilities are missing that hold the app back from being more than just a leisurely way to browse pretty pictures. When I need to keep serious visual notes on my iPhone, I still use Evernote’s iPhone app, an Editors’ Choice, which can replicate an experience akin to having a private Pinterest account when used in conjunction with the Evernote Web Clipper. Another option is Springpad, which is slightly different from Pinterest and in my eyes, less polished and more cluttered, but with more features.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc