Pinterest’s ‘New User Experience’ Fails to Deliver

I was watching Ben Silbermann’s interview at D11 where he states (22:53):

The experience that I’m really interested is when someone new joins Pinterest on any device how do we make it incredibly easy for them to understand what Pinterest is and to pair them up with other people in the world that share their particular passions. I basically re-sign up for the service every day on different devices, and I think we have a long way to go and if we can do that, we can open the service up to people all over the world, we can expand the number of interests that are represented and so that’s the number one priority for the company.

This is a really good idea btw, I might take that one.

Despite this, I actually found Pinterest’s new user experience to be pretty bad. I like Pinterest, I think it’s a useful idea. When I signed up, it prompted me to follow a whole bunch of boards. Being new to the service, I figured I’d more or less just accept the default options and so I accepted all the suggestions and was soon following a whole bunch of boards (over a dozen).

Boards that for the most part were kind of annoying. Sure the occasional inspirational quote, or cupcake photo is nice. But I don’t need 1000 of them drowning out the things I have explicitly decided to follow.

And this is where I found the user experience very bad: unlike on Twitter where you can view all the people you follow on one page with 1-click per user unfollow them, I found no such way on Pinterest. It seems you have to click on the board name from the pin-stream, open in a new page then click on unfollow.

Pinterest Menu

The other way you can find the boards you follow is from the menu, by selecting “Your Boards” and when that loads selecting “Following” (which a bit counter-intuitive, I don’t see how “Following” fits under “Your Boards”, since they are not yours). More counter-intuitively this is not actually a list of boards you follow, but a list of people from whom you follow at least 1 board. There is no unfollow button, and clicking on a user gives you a “Follow All” button, but no “Unfollow All” and the boards followed are not even highlighted. Even if you select a user, it will show their boards but does not highlight the ones you follow.

So I tediously unfollowed each board by selecting it from the pin-stream. Unfollow a few, reload the page, unfollow some more. [Aside: 1 board completely refuses to let me unfollow – every time I try it says “unfollowed” but it’s pins stay in the pin stream nevertheless, but I digress I want to focus on the UX issue, not simple bugs, and at least it’s just 1 out of 12+, that I can handle]. Eventually I got rid of all but that stubbon one. It would have been faster just to create a new account.


  1. There is no simple way to mass-unfollow boards in Pinterest.
  2. There is not even a list of boards you follow (only a list of people who’s boards you follow).
  3. When you join the service, they suggest you follow a lot of boards, some which you may decide later you no longer want.
  4. The above 3 points combined make the new user experience quite painful.

My Suggestion

Since it’s so easy to follow boards, make it easy to unfollow as well! Give me a list of every board I follow (not every user whose boards I follow – that is useful only to follow more of their boards, and not for unfollowing), or at least highlight which boards of the user I do follow!, and allow me to one-click unfollow button. In other words, consider the 1-week user experience too :)

My issue is not the suggestions, that’s fine – just need a way to undo the suggestions. If the same thing happened to twitter, it would be trivial to clean up your account and drop the suggested follows in seconds.

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