A clue to Pinterest’s growth plan can be found in the company’s new profile page design

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Yesterday Pinterest unveiled its first big profile page redesign in two years. Naturally, because Pinterest is seen as far less sexy than its social counterparts, the news didn’t unleash a thinkpiece-storm like those that accompany Twitter or Facebook profile changes.

But the redesign is worth noting, mostly because of what it signifies about Pinterest’s current priorities: namely, international expansion. The main reason Pinterest needed to alter its profile design is because foreign languages don’t always fit inside the navigation bar, warping the profile page’s appearance. “The translations of the words for pins or followers can get longer than they are in English,” Justin Edmund, the product designer on the project, told me. “Having all those things in one bar that didn’t wrap or anything like that made it a huge problem.”

The old profile pages weren’t designed with international users in mind, since Pinterest hadn’t moved into other countries as of a few years ago. Most of the growth abroad happened in the last year. The app is now in 32 languages, and Pinterest has opened offices in Tokyo, London, Paris, and Berlin, in addition to its U.S. offices.

With the new look, the follow button has been moved to the upper right hand corner of the application. The stats for each user, like number of followers, have been moved to a two-bar format to give it more room.

Old Pinterest profile page

Original profile design

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New profile design

The original Pinterest profile design wouldn’t have been a huge problem if the U.S. was Pinterest’s main focus. But it’s not anymore.

“We want most of our usage to come from outside the United States because most of the world is outside the United States,” a Pinterest spokesperson told me. “At this point a lot of our engineering and design work is reflecting that.” Pinterest’s product design manager, Mia Blume, will be speaking more about the company’s design strategy at Gigaom’s upcoming Roadmap Design Conference.

Pinterest introduced other languages to its product at the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014, soon after raising its $225 million Series E. Expanding internationally is key for Pinterest to expand its user base, increase its ad revenue, and grow into its now $5 billion valuation.

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Michael Herbertson

All the board suggestions related to an image that you are looking at, the ones that contain that image and ones similar to it, are gone. Can’t say I’m very pleased with this. Not sure if anyone would agree, but that was a useful feature for me. Surely it would have benefited for international use.

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