Organizing Pinterest Boards – Building a Filter Option


2 minute read – 2017


  1. Pinterest is an example of a platform that balances site organization and user experience using a flat taxonomy.

  2. Our team at Pratt Institute worked on 'Improving the usability of Pinterest Artboards' structure and filter options'

  3. All of Pinterest’s categories are top-level topics that users can search through depending on their interests.

  4. We can reverse-engineer IA by noting that users like to search Pinterest in many different ways — they might choose by category, a specific topic, or browse most popular or recent uploads.

  5. Pinterest allows users assign topics to uncategorized uploads, meaning that users can participate in the upload feature to the current taxonomy.


Problem Statement

Find solutions to consolidate information for digital artists on the Pinterest User Profile


Roles & Responsibilities 

UX Designer (team of 2 and a Visual Designer) 



  1. A developed research report

  2. User interviews results

  3. User observation outcomes

  4. Empathy maps

  5. Personas

  6. User flows



 2 weeks



Desktop Version

I am happy to discuss in detail how our team approaches a method that intersect Agile methods and waterfalls.

I am happy to discuss in detail how our team approaches a method that intersect Agile methods and waterfalls.


Project Overview

In the Discovery stage, post creating a research plan, we set our user-interview questions:

Q: How do you use Pinterest? 

Q: Can you create a Pinterest mood board? 

Q: What are the most important features you use on the platform? 


Research Methods


Signs with ✓ are methods used for this project

✓ Company Research
✓ Contextual Inquiry
✓ Card Sorting
✓ Diary Studies
✓ Customer Interviews
✕ Customer Surveys

✓ Empathy Map
✕ Tensions, Contradictions, and Surprise Map
✓ Persona Development
✓ Storyboards
✓ Customer Journey Map
✓ Heuristic Review
✕ Feature Matrix
✓ POV Statements
✓ How Might We?


Information Architecture

Analyzing IA for desktop user-profile


I - Search & Filter options: By creating a filter button, the user has the options to select only the boards they want to see on one page. The user can edit and update filtered boards. 

II - Current UI: A Pinterest user profile can see boards, user profile picture, followers and followings, settings, sending, and the ellipses affordance (...) button that signals to more options available. 

III - Pitch our work: Our next step is taking the deliverable and presentation to the folks at Pinterest


Updated Design Released in 2018: 

Our team made UX suggestions and Pinterest released a new feature of solving the problem of board layouts by creating four new filters to help sort out the content. These filters are: Last saved to, which directs the user to the most recent pins. A to Z, filter option is to order content, Newest and Oldest filters are related to times, and our users found the Drag and drop filter to be the most interesting feature. 

Improved UI: A visual hierarchy of the profile picture by moving it to the left side of the page, more pixels and space created for stats (followers, following, boards, and pins) and user name and location. I



  • Re-organized the User Interface & visual hierarchy for sorting boards.

  • Pushing pixels to give some room for profile information.


Key Goal - Filtering Art Boards

Prototype an app feature for existing Pinterest members to show filter options as users organize the art board structure. This solves the problem of information overload for customer by creating a better experience around filters and organizing material.  

Click the image above to view user flow on filtering boards.

Click the image above to view user flow on filtering boards.


Research Process 

In this phase, our team collects information about users, and begin to organize content so that we can make sense of it. We start to look for meaning and patterns with our data.

By the end of this phase, we'll know who our users are, what their deeper needs are, and what problems we can solve for them. 



  1. Learn how to generate insights from the research 

  2. Practice key techniques like personas, storyboards, and competitive matrices

  3. Create "Point-of-view:" statements that inform the next step of product creation


01 Discovery (Empathize) Stage 

User Interviews

The objective was to interview artists curating art boards and content prior to design. Our team interviewed 5 artists from multiple industries as we requested them to complete a task on Pinterest. One of the interviewees was a first-time Pinterest User. 


Contextual Inquiry

A set of questions to explore the user's problems on the platform by observing the user completing a task. In this case, our team interviewed students at the Art Center in California and asked them if they were using the platform and if they can complete a task for us. 

What are the user's goals?

The user's goal is to work efficiently and smart. The user always wants to make his clients happy and create high standard work.

What are the pain points when you use your search boards? 

The user tends to get distracted with repetitive tasks, and not able to see a bird’s-eye-view of his projects, collectively, in one place on the website. User has to use multiple computer monitors during a project which makes it difficult to restructure the search method.

  • How long will the user use this product for? For what length of time? 

The user uses this product 85% of his time when working on a design project. The user creates boards and curates content to show to the client. Sometimes it takes the user more time if she does not know what boards to search for.

Will the user likely be interrupted or otherwise need to return to tasks? 

The user is looking for multiple boards and wants to see the visual content on the screen at the same time, on one page. The user has to come back to the board continuously leading to distractions and being side-tracked or not finding what he was originally looking for. 

How much easier is it to use your product (Pinterest) than the alternatives? 

Pinterest is a relatively easy-to-use platform. But the user sometimes has to create ideas on a post-it note to manually place the boards in order. 

How are you using search tools for Pinterest boards and what tasks will it take to accomplish your goals? 

The user is working on creating an illustration for a client. As part of the design process, the user collects ideas in the forms of images and organizes them on Pinterest. 


02 Define

Persona Development

A tool to better understand our users by looking at behavioral patterns using data collected during research. For any given problem space, there tends to be distinct behavior types, views or attitudes of people. For the purposes of this project, our persona focuses on the artist who is a freelance designer. The user enjoys collecting ideas during brainstorm sessions during the discovery phase of a project. 

  • Persona: full-time artist

  • Age 35

  • Lives alone

  • Deals with many clients

  • Is tech savvy

  • Works long hours (9am-7pm)

  • Knows how to multi-task with websites


Customer Journey Map

By analyzing the emotional range of the customer, we are able to calculate where frustrations occur and help implement in the new feature.

03 How Might We Statements

This stage is where we harvest all the hard work done during the first two phases of the UX usability research. Now we have a clear vision on what the problems are, and we can start moving to the ideate phase.

We'll also look for unexpected customer insights that can help us better define a "problem statement" or "point of view". The goal of this mode is to come up with at least one actionable problem statement.

Point of view and how might we statements

Point of view and how might we statements


The artist and Pinterest user has the option of categorizing the assets needed in the design and artistic process of labeling story elements.

Pinterest Boards using a birds eye view to manage project elements in the art process.

Pinterest Boards using a birds eye view to manage project elements in the art process.

For full access to case study providing outcomes and results, feel free to contact me here