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Pinterest's New Look and How You Should Respond To It
By: Judi Cutrone
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The statement "nobody likes change" is nothing new, but nothing else quite sends that message home like the reaction from your social media networks whenever one of our favorite platforms undergoes a makeover. For every one positive reaction, it seems like there are nine negative ones towards the new look, whether it's Facebook's new Timeline view or Twitter's restructured layout or, as of Friday, Pinterest's new profile page. Is this just a knee-jerk reaction to change, any change? Is it fair? Is it justified?

Developers have no interest in making their site more difficult for you to use; it's in their best interest to create a user experience that is faster, sleeker, more intuitive, encourages collaboration, and allows you, above all, to easily spend thousands of social networking hours within its cozy walls. Sometimes, the powers that be miss that mark, sometimes completely, but not always. So, before you pass judgment, consider these key questions:

Is it easier to use?
Ignore the fact that you no longer experience the same level of familiarity with the page structure and, instead, tackle the new look from the perspective of a new user; is it easy to navigate? Can you find what you need and find it faster? If you click on a big, juicy button and get whisked away, is it easy to find your way back? Is it just as easy or easier to upload photos, videos, status updates, and other content?

Is anything missing?
A few years ago, a popular website updated their look and did away with the traditional navigation structure that nobody consciously realized we really needed until it was coldly ripped away. This navigation is still missing from the website, as well as its sister sites, as an intentional design choice, despite the public outcry. I still miss it to this day. It hinders me from enjoying the site's content and discourages mindless browsing of that content. Perhaps for this reason, when I first encounter a new design, I immediately wonder if anything key is missing. If everything vital to my enjoyment of the website is still present, even if it has a new name and location, I breathe a sigh of relief and move on.

Does the new design do what it was intended to do?
Whenever a major social network plays with its pages, it gets media coverage (and then some). All of the good media outlets will quote the guys in charge about what the design was intended to accomplish. In the case of Pinterest's new profile pages, here is what Ben Silbermann had to say about the plans at SXSW, courtesy of Lauren Indvik at Mashable:

"'I’m so excited about it,” said Silbermann who spoke at the South By Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday. “We wanted to make it more beautiful … to make your profile different in kind than the profile you have on Facebook.”

Silbermann emphasized new discoverability features in the redesign, saying he and his team wanted to make it easier for users to stumble upon other like-minded users, and highlight the people their connections are repinning images from."

Did Silbermann and Co. succeed? That's up to you to decide, of course. Just be sure to make that determination in the right frame of mine. Give it a little time and some objectivity. Because what's familiar isn't always better, not in the long run.

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About the Author
Judi Cutrone is a social media strategist, novelist, and food blogger. She is an appreciator of good television, muppets, and the music of Phil Collins.
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