New users have been joining the social scrapbooking site Pinterest in droves, despite the fact that until very recently, it was only available as a web app and a rinky-dink iPhone app. Pinterest's development team just overhauled the latter and added two more platforms to its app portfolio: Android and iPad.
The iPad app is a good first showing for the company that has surely experienced serious growing pains due to Pinterest's meteoric rise and huge popularity. The app serves its purpose and improves the user experience ten-fold over what was in place previously, but that doesn't make it a first-class final product.
Form and function
The layout of Pinterest's tablet app makes sense and works for the iPad, giving users quick and simple access to the areas of the app they will be most interested in utilising. Apps that are based on websites (or web apps) shouldn't be laid out in quite the same manner as their full-sized sisters, due to the different way you interact with the two forms.
Pinterest's iPad app succeeds in being similar enough in style, but different enough in terms of UI to take advantage of the iPad's touchscreen. A collapsible pane on the left functions as the main navigation bar with three primary choices at the top (Following, Browse the Web, and Search) and the complete list of Pinterest categories below them. At the bottom is a link to your Pinterest page, as well as a Settings button.
But little things are awry when it comes to functionality. When you navigate to a new area or open the built-in web browser, there's no way to see what other pages you've left open. But rest assured they are open! As you close the active window, the most previous one resurfaces. A handful of glaring problems with the app's functionality are more obvious, and hopefully will be fixed soon. The two biggest omissions are a browser search bar and tabs. How old-school is that?
During my testing, the browser also froze or stalled multiple times. When the browser or app crashes and you re-launch it, the app returns to the home screen, rather than the previously viewed page. "How about if I just find the page I want again via the History?" I thought to myself. No dice. While there is a way to clear your browser history, there isn't a way to see it, leaving me wondering who is looking at that information, if it's not me.
You can't rearrange pins, which display in reverse-chronological order of how you pin them (most recent first), but this inability exists in the full website, too. Furthermore on the iPad, you can't change which pin displays on the cover of a board, which you can do on the site.
The Pinterest iPad app is three-quarters of the way to what I would want to see in a finished product. To anyone hoping to use Pinterest avidly on an iPad, I recommend installing the free Yahoo! Axis browser, which has a built-in Pin it button, to supplement the shortcomings found in Pinterest's own app. Use Yahoo! Axis for pinning, but Pinterest's own app for exploring the site. So do install the Pinterest iPad app – it definitely has something to offer, even if that something is only 75 per cent of everything.