15
Aug
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I have some news for you, guys: Pinterest isn't just for women. Contrary to what some people may believe, it's actually a service for, well, everyone. In fact, I've been using it to research desk and home office ideas for the last few weeks, and it has been a fantastic aid in my quest to find the perfect setup.

Here's how it all started: I routinely check some of my favorite office design sites - like Minimal Desks and Simple Desks (the latter of which isn't updated as often) - for new ideas on how to rearrange my home office in a more simplistic and minimal, yet practical way. One night I decided to search Google/Images for minimal offices, industrial desks, and the like. Guess which site continuously popped up in the search results? Pinterest. It was then I realized what a powerful tool it actually is. Still, I didn't join.

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After much encouragement from my lovely wife, I was convinced that joining the site would help me keep my ideas and inspirations organized far better than my current system of saving my favorite images to Google Drive (note: always listen to your wife, she knows you better than anyone).

That was working out really well, but there was one key thing missing: an Android app. After using Pinterest for just a bit, it was very clear how well the interface would translate to mobile. Then, last night, just seconds after I turned to my wife and said how much I want a Pinterest Android app, it happened: Pinterest landed in the Play Store.

Naturally, I immediately downloaded the app. First on my Nexus 7, then my Galaxy Nexus, and lastly, the TF700 (so I could get a good idea of how it translated across various device sizes, of course). My first impression? It reminded me of the Google+ app, and that's a good thing. Kind of like a crossbreed between the Pinterest site and the G+ app.

I'll just come out and say this: in many ways, the Pinterest app is better than the website. It's fast, easy to use, and is incredibly intuitive. Anyone who uses the service and has already installed the app can probably attest to that. In fact, I now prefer it to the site. It's as if the service was designed with mobile in mind right from the start.

As soon as you fire the app up and sign in, you're immediately presented with the same content you would normally find on the homepage of the site. A swipe to the right goes to the categories/search page, and a swipe to the left take you to the dashboard.

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In the dashboard, you can see your "news" (read: notifications), and manage your followers. To the right of your name/username is the settings menu, which actually doesn't offer much in the way of, you know, settings (compared to its web counterpart, anyway).

The real meat and potatoes of Pinterest, of course, is found within the images. The search/categories page is just as easy to use as the site, and everyone familiar with the service should feel right at home in the app. After searching for an image, all the familiar options are there: pins, boards, and people. The Pinterest app makes terrific use of the Holo layout without actually using the Holo theme; that is, you can swipe back and forth between the aforementioned categories, but it keeps the same familiar white and red theme that is synonymous with the site.

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A simple tap on any image opens it up and displays the options to repin, like, or comment on the image down at the bottom of the screen, along with a menu button on the far right. From there, you can share the image through the normal Android share context menu, save the image locally to your device, or report the pin for a violation of the terms of service.

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One of my favorite things about the app is that, once you've pinned an image, it takes you back to the main search screen with the list of results. By contrast, the website actually displays a popup letting you know that the image was successfully pinned, after which it goes back to the pinned image. It's all a bit superfluous to me, so I absolutely love the fact that the app doesn't do that. Both "like" and "comment" work as advertised, and since this is basic functionality found it many apps, I'm not going to go into detail there.

All that's great, but how does the interface translate across various screen sizes? One word: brilliantly. This is actually the area in which the Pinterest app reminds me of G+ the most. On my Nexus 7, for example, I'm presented with three columns of image results in portrait after a search; switch that up to landscape, and it offers four columns. On the Galaxy Nexus, it only shows two in portrait; three in landscape. And on the TF700, which has a larger 10.1" display and is used primarily in landscape mode, it displays five columns of pictures in landscape; three in portrait. Here's the point: the app is incredibly dynamic across various screen sizes and resolutions, while still keeping the same look across all. Just like the G+ app. And I love it.

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Left to right: Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 7, ASUS TF700

Overall, I'm incredibly impressed with the Pinterest app. It's clear that the developers paid very close attention the Android design guidelines, but they also kept the same look and feel of the Pinterest site. They also made sure that it works well across both phones and tablets of varying resolutions and display sizes without drastically changing the interface for each. This is, hands-down, one of the cleanest, most well-designed apps that I've ever used (and I don't say that lightly); especially for the first version from a major service.

A tip of the hat is in order to the software architects who created this masterpiece - you guys deserve it.

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • David Bell

    It sorta looks like it's designed for apple.

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      Weird, I see Android written all over this thing.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

        I agree. I fail to see how an app that follows the Android design guidelines so closely can "look like it's designed for Apple."

        • mesmorino

          To be fair, your failure to see it doesn't necessarily mean it's not there. It's probably all the white that's making it seem like that, most apps that are explicitly designed for Android have black backgrounds with blue highlights... Or some general black and blue theme.

          I'm just saying

          • marcusmaximus04

            That's because those other apps use the "holo dark" theme.

            This is using the "holo light" one. The same theme that's used in gmail, calendar, Chrome, People(what replaced contacts), Talk, etc.

          • mesmorino

            Annnnd that explains my eternal irritation with the gmail app, talk, chrome, and all those other apps that use the light theme. The rest of my phone is dark and dim (dark wallpaper + dark theme), I get an email and BOOM the whole screen turns white because I opened gmail. It just always seemed like an oddity, finding out it's an actual design decision just makes it worse.

            Picking one theme for the phone and it's native apps would have made more sense, and it would have induced third party apps that wanted to fit in to pick one colour scheme and stick with it. Now we have Pinterest using one, and -insert another app here- using the other one. Both are right but only one actually reminds me of Android immediately, because the holo dark theme is the one used in all the images (and videos) of the GNex

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

          Just a shot-in-the-dark guess, because I had a momentary thought of this too, it might be because the interface is so picture-centric. One of the design guidelines in both iOS (and Metro) is that pictures of content should consume as much of the screen as possible and they should be used either as components of the navigation or as banners to the overall content. It's not that non-Android OS's have any claim to this, it's just that there haven't been as many apps on Android that make use of that particular approach. I guess what I'm saying is, people are just used to seeing this style everywhere except Android...which is kinda depressing...

    • omullins

      I tested out the new iPad app and this is actually different. It's so nice to have an app that isn't just an Apple app clone.

  • Kori

    Love this app! I have been waiting a long time for this and it doesn't disappoint!

  • omullins

    It really is a fantastic app. It's working great and follows Android design guidelines... Love it!

  • Ryan Yakus

    I see you have springpad, too...why weren't you using that to organize your inspirations in the first place?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Honestly, Springpad is one of those things that never really caught on for me. I tried to get into it, but just never ended up using it.

  • hmmm

    so... basically it has pics and hints on how to organize stuff around you?
    that still sounds like it's for women.

    • Sqube

      It's like you ALMOST read it and stopped. It's pictures of all kinds of things that frequently link to source websites.

      For example, my girlfriend is into cooking. Click a picture of some food, and it'll take you to a recipe. Expand that for all kinds of things, cars, tech, whatever. I'm sure there's also plenty of boobs to be found on there. It's for everyone.

  • cooldoods

    looks like a well-designed and beautiful app. I still fail to see how Pinterest would be of use to me personally when I could just do a Google search for images of any item that I want to see, and that would give me images not just from Pinterest. Do I really need to create a social networking account just to do that?

    • omullins

      Most pins are not just pictures but also links to tutorials, articles, and other resources. It's an attractive, easy, and fun way to browse and keep track of things.

      • cooldoods

        so it's Facebook without the emotional baggage? lol

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Pinterest itself doesn't host images. It pull images from all over the web and uses user tags to pull up content relevant to your search. In a way, it's like a social version of Google Images, but you can oftentimes get better and more relevant results.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

      Pinterest doesn't actually host images. It pulls images from across the web and uses user descriptions/keywords to deliver content most relevant to your search. It's sort of like a social version of Google Images, and as such, can oftentimes deliver more relevant and accurate results.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marcy.holmes Marcy Holmes

    What I feel like is missing is a way to pin images when I'm browsing in chrome on my tablet - is there a way to do thi?