Is Pinterest a good tool for spotting design opportunities?

Pinterest shows things that people like and enjoy. It may not show the complete truth, but the amount of trending content is big enough to gain some insights. Does this make it a good platform for spotting latest opportunities for design?

I know a lot of designers who use it, and who use the secret pin boards functionality to create virtual working image boards across locations. I only use it a bit, but I like it. I’m not sure if you can spot the latest opportunities but you can certainly surf and get a sense for what is hot right now.

What is interesting is that social networks seem to be increasingly niche in their functionality, twitters’s character limit, instagram’s all images, no external links, interest’s pinning and repining.

Facebook seems to represent the one platform that could scarily pull them all together.

I’m not sure what is better, having a fragmented but decentralized experience that no one platform can overly data-mine and own, or having an über platform with a continuously seamless experience but where your data could be harvested and could be potentially messed with.

Maybe with the fragmented experience, the data on the back end is so connected it doesn’t matter anyway.

I think it depends on how deep you want to delve. I personally use it for enhancing myself as a designer and a place to archive all inspiration I gather from various internet sources. For example I like to “pin” great sketches, have a board dedicated to patterns that I intend to use when I want to do an audio product. I also use it for home inspiration, right now I’m keen to keep my living expenses low as I like to live and work in large cities so have been following the “micro home” movement.

That is just me as a designer. I don’t generally look in to the trending pages but from what I can gather and I use my girlfriend as an example here the average Pinterest user likes to look at and archive their lifestyle enhancing “research” mainly exercise, home decoration and cooking.

Now this could be a way to design the next kitchen utensil that lets you decorate that cake as it looks in the pictures, or helps you complete that exercise routine but that begs the question of designers just producing more “stuff”. It’s an interesting topic to explore but you have to remember people are using Pinterest as a way to explore a life they want to lead, not the one they are actually living.