User Interfaces : First encounter

Last Tuesday we had our first encounter with the course User Interfaces. We discovered the basic concepts of Human-Computer Interaction. The first thing we discussed was ‘Why is this course important?’. There are a lot of courses on the technical side, so we need some course from the users point of view to balance things out.

After some theory, we started with a first small assignment. We had to evaluate the website Pinterest. While experimenting with the site, we wrote down the most striking features.

Pro’s

  • The scroll-to-top button is very useful because Pinterest provides a large amount of information on one page. 

    The Scroll-to-Top button

  • Using the search function provides three categories of results. Here you can choose between Pin, Board & Pinner. Searching for content, topics or people becomes very easy. Pins, Boards & Pinners

Cons

  • During the session on Tuesday, it was possible to look at the site without registering. Although the site was pushing the viewer to register.

Startpage 19/02Today we noticed that even just looking isn’t possible anymore without being registered. Screenshot from 2013-02-21 15:21:42

  • If you do decide to join Pinterest, you are obligated to follow 5 pinners immediately. You cannot choose to skip this.
  • It isn’t very clear what is possible and what isn’t. Do you have friends? Can you make your pins/boards only visible for these friends? Can you post only pictures or other multimedia? We only found answers to these questions by trial and error. You can invite friends, but they aren’t displayed as your friends on Pinterest. The second question isn’t relevant then. Further it is also possible to upload videos (using Youtube) or slides (using Slideshare).
  • The search function disappears when scrolling down. This is partly solved by the scroll to top button. Still if you want to search something you will have to be on the top of the page. 

After evaluating the site ourselves, we did some tests with the other groups. We presented them with some tasks which they tried to execute. Most of these succeeded without any problems. Sometimes however there was some confusion about which icon represented which task. For example the testpersons sometimes confused uploading a pin from the desktop or from an URL. But no major problems were discovered and all tasks were accomplished in the given time. These tests may be not entirely accurate, because all of the testpersons already knew the site quite good.

We can conclude that Pinterest is quite a good website for its purpose. People who want to gather more photos, videos or slides on a specific subject won’t be disappointed. Our personal need to discover this extra information isn’t that urgent, so we probably won’t use Pinterest in the future again.