Pinterest's VP of Tech Outlines its Evolving Efforts to Maximize Inclusion and Cater to All Users
Pinterest has made diversity a bigger focus in recent years, with sophisticated technology that attempts to deliver more inclusive options and an internal shift that prioritizes diversity of viewpoints. With the ability to both highlight different items and creators, as well as maximize inclusion among those looking for related products, this is a vital factor given the app's expanding prominence as an eCommerce platform.
Jeremy King, Pinterest's SVP of Technology, gave a summary of the platform's efforts to enhance inclusivity, as well as why it's such an important emphasis for the platform, as well as its future ambitions in this area. He feels that as a visual platform, Pinterest has a responsibility to consider what it means to truly see oneself in the product, regardless of who you are.
Continue reading to learn more about how Pinterest is dealing with this important issue from Jeremy.
Q: What key usage impacts have been seen as a result of Pinterest's inclusivity efforts?
Diversifying the data and training the models with different content has been one of the most significant achievements in Pinterest's diversification efforts over the last few years. They may deliver more diversified recommendations as a result of this work, which has resulted in more engagement and searches. They've also added an augmented reality layer to their platform by integrating skin tone ranges with their Try-On product. They discovered that Pinners are 5x more likely to show buy intent on AR Pins than normal Pins when using AR Try-On with skin tone ranges. AR is also a better product because it enables a wider range of searching and filtering options. Pinterest will keep working to make these important items more inclusive.
Diversity and representation are not just ethical things to do, but they are also the best thing for the global business. Pinterest has always been a source of inspiration, positivism, and relevancy. They must purposefully develop technology in a way that promotes happiness to make people feel inspired (the most recent example is their ban of weight-loss ads, a first for the industry.)
Q: How many people use Pinterest's skin tone search feature?
The skin tone ranges function has been gradually rolling out over the world, and it is now available in 14 nations. They're focusing on ensuring local and relevant material appears for Pinners when they search and refine beauty results that work best for them as they launch abroad. With over 80 million individuals searching for beauty ideas each month, Pinterest is one of the most popular beauty platforms in the world. The number of Pinners who use the skin tone range function to find beauty ideas on Pinterest has increased by 5x in the last year.
Q: What elements of Pinterest's systems are influenced by existing bias?
Since unveiling the first iteration of skin tone ranges in 2018, Pinterest has been working on inclusive goods, and they've continued to invest in integrating inclusive innovation in a variety of areas, including augmented reality.
Pinterest created skin tone ranges, according to Jeremy, since they discovered biases in their search results that weren't appropriately personalized for each person. Pinners told them it was difficult to locate search results that were particular to their skin tone range, so they added text to their queries to try to identify the most appropriate ideas. Their solution as a visual platform was to make it simple to filter searches with a palette that represented a variety of skin tones. They began to lessen the bias in outcomes as they continued to spend in refining the technology and models, as well as diversifying the data.
Q: What else is Pinterest working on to remove bias from the shopping experience?
When it comes to innovation, they consider how people already use Pinterest and aim to make it the most inclusive, inspiring, and actionable experience possible. It should be simple to identify ideas that work best for you, read recommendations for how it could function or fit, then purchase it. They first tackled beauty with skin tone ranges and subsequently AR, as one of the most popular categories on Pinterest. Try them on, and they'll keep expanding these categories.
Pinterest's focus on creators and commerce as key product areas hasn't changed. They're working to make it easier for people to find items and ideas from underrepresented artists. They're also taking advantage of people's business intent when they come to Pinterest to create shopping tools that feel natural on the site. And doing so in a way that is both inclusive and real. For example, there is no skin smoothing or changing elements in AR Try on, making it feel more like real life than augmented reality.
Q: What tips does Pinterest have for brands looking to establish a more inclusive approach?
It's critical for platforms and data handlers to diversify their data. You can find yourself in a situation where your dataset is skewed due to your consumer base, and you'll need to find additional data that you don't have. This can be costly, and there may come a point where you must weigh cost versus benefit, but diversifying data and minimizing AI bias now will pay off in the long term.
To ensure that future technology benefits everyone, all organizations must take initiatives to enhance diversity among AI researchers and engineers. It would be a huge disservice to design a future technological state that only worked for a small group of people. While tech companies are still a long way from eliminating AI bias, we can work every day to make technology more compassionate and inclusive.
Diversifying content and ensuring representation across creators that represent your business is also vital. Work with - and compensate - community-based research and focus groups to ensure that the products, design, and services you supply are representative. Make it simple to locate and support businesses run by members of underrepresented groups.
Pinterest often says that if you don't feel represented, you won't be inspired. Brands must ensure that their current and future communities can see themselves reflected in their services.