Social Media GUI: Pinterest

Pinterest Bridges The Resolution Gap

By Paul Konikowski, CTS-D

If you have not tried Pinterest yet, it’s basically a way of sharing visual tidbits in an electronic bulletin board format.  Like other social media platforms, you can follow posts or “pins” from certain friends, groups, or manufacturers, or search all of Pinterest using key words or hashtags, like #memes.  If you see a Pin that you like, you can add a comment, click on it to see it full-size, link to more information, and/or “repin” it to another special themed boards.  For example, a local non-profit might pin a flyer for a holiday craft fair to their “Sustainable Crafts” board, and a newspaper might repin the same flyer and link to their “Local Events” board.

One thing I really like about Pinterest is that it “bridges the gap” when I use a larger screen resolution.  Most social media platforms are designed for smaller screens, and can waste a lot of space on larger screens.

Here are some Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter home pages as viewed in 1280×800 resolution:

Pinterest screen using 1280x 800 video resolution
Pinterest in 1280x 800 video resolution, notice there are five columns across, with small “gaps” on sides
Facebook Timeline screen using 1280 x 800 video resolution
Facebook Timeline screen using 1280 x 800 video resolution. Let’s call these “medium gaps”
LinkedIn Home screen using 1280 x 800 video resolution
LinkedIn Home screen using 1280 x 800 video resolution; again, medium gaps on sides
Twitter news feed using 1280 x 800 video resolution
Twitter news feed using 1280 x 800 video resolution; looks good with medium sized gaps

The above four pages all look pretty good on my MacBook Pro in 1280 x 800 resolution (sorry, no Retina display).  Each has an appropriate amount of white space, grey space or background photo filling in the gaps on either side of the news feed.  But look what happens when you view the same pages in 1920 x 1080 pixels:

Pinterest Screen shown on a PC with 1080p resolution
Pinterest Screen shown 1920 x 1080 pixels; notice there are eight total columns, and the gaps are small
Facebook Timeline shown on a PC with 1080p resolution
Facebook Timeline shown in 1920 x 1080; the medium blue side gaps have grown into large gaps
LinkedIn Home page as displayed in 1080p resolution
LinkedIn Home page as displayed in 1920 x 1080; also suffering from LGS ( Large Gap Syndrome)
Twitter feed using Chrome on a PC in 1080p resolution
Twitter Feed as seen in 1920 x 1080.  My background photo is not even large enough for the gaps.

The Pinterest interface is designed to grow and shrink, adding or deleting columns depending on the screen resolution, making it look great on any screen. Some webpages like Facebook and Spotify will hide their chat windows or banner ads when the screen is not wide enough, making them somewhat adaptable in the lower resolutions. But once you are above 1280 x 800 pixels, they all begin to fall apart. In my opinion, one of worst “gap offenders” of all time is Google+.  Below is my G+ home page screen in 1920 x 1080 resolution.  Notice that less than half of the screen is my news feed!  The other space is partially #occupied with people I may know, trends, chat windows, and other things I can do when I get bored with G+:

Google+ in 1080p
Google+ in 1920 x 1080 resolution. I call the white space a “Glacier Gap”

I really want to create a plug-in that will look for giant white space on webpages, and turn them into little sledding hills on my screen, with little people sledding down and walking back up.  Or maybe slalom skiers?

Of course many people who use larger screens will not maximize their windows, because they like to keep two or three windows open and in view at all times.  The take-home of this blog is that the Pinterest GUI (graphic user interface) is intelligently designed to adapt and adjust to different window sizes and screen dimensions.  This tactic avoids the “Am I missing something?” syndrome on small screens, and maximizes the benefit of larger screens and resolutions.  And since Pinterest is so visual, a larger screen allows a typical user to look through a lot more pins in a given timeframe.

Does this mean your wife will spend less time on Pinterest?  Not exactly!  Any Pinterest fan will tell you that the pins will go on forever, and will last longer than you will.  Addicted pinners should still set some time limits before they spend hours looking at pins, commenting, and re-pinning.  But in theory, a wider screen with a higher resolution could help some users save a few minutes each day.  It’s sort of like using a wider straw when you are drinking your soda pop.  If you drink the soda at a faster rate, would you be self-disciplined enough to stop when you finish your first serving?  Or would you be more likely to drink more soda?