Pinshape is one of the newer 3D model marketplaces and online communities that have popped up in the last few years, but they have been working hard set themselves apart from their competition–as we’ve been following. Not only does Pinshape allow their 3D designers to sell 3D printable files, they also encourage sharing and free downloads, think of them as a combination of Shapeways and Thingiverse. They also have a rapidly growing community of designers and 3D printing enthusiasts that help each other learn to use Pinshape as well as offering everything from design and printing tutorials, 3D printer tech support and industry news. One of the things that sets Pinshape apart is that they encourage their members to become ambassadors that bring a sense of ownership to the community. They are typically users who moderate the community forums, help judge design contests, beta test new features and submit content to the Pinshape blog.
Because community is such an important part of what Pinshape is trying to build, they take feedback from their users very seriously, and over and over again users have been asking for better ways to keep track of their fellow users and the trends that they follow. They also want easier options for discovering more relevant 3D models that they can download. To help address those issues Pinshape is launching the new Feed feature, which is customized for each individual user based on what designers they follow, what they have previously downloaded and what subjects interest them the most. Similar to the feed on Facebook, the Pinshape Feed is a constantly updating stream of activity that helps users better connect with their interests.
“The feedback from our community is they want to connect with other makers and designers. The Feed gives users a central place to see the activity they care about in the community and allows them to be more engaged. Each feed is unique to every user based on their who they follow and their preferences, so everyone gets the best experience possible,” Pinshape CEO & Co-Founder Lucas Matheson explained to 3DPrint.com.
The Feed will appear at the top of the homepage once a user has logged in, and won’t just show users’ 3D models and downloadable content, but will also feature the activity of community makers and designers that users follow. This will allow them the ability to keep tabs on what their friends are doing on Pinshape. And based on a specific user’s previous Pinshape activity their Feed will also show off new, recently uploaded designs and the most popular designs within their personal network. This can potentially eliminate hours of searching through models and designs by only showing users what is happening within the circles of designers and fellow users that they follow.
Previous to the launch of the Feed, Pinshape users could of course filter search results using keywords and tags as well as looking at trending designs. Because individual tastes vary from person to person, obviously that is a very shallow and generic experience. But with the Feed the experience is far more tailored to a specific user’s tastes. The user simply needs to click the Following tab to take a look at a customized list of activity and trending topics. Their Feed also allows users to click the Discover tab, which will expand the scope of what community activity they are exposed to. And the Discover tab still keeps track of user’s previous activity so the results will be more organic and relevant.
“It was important to our community to have a place where they could get a snapshot of everything that’s going on. The Feed makes it easier for them to see what other makers are doing and get more involved in the community, not to mention find the coolest designs to print. The Feed can be customized for each person, so they really get to see what they care most about,” Matheson told us.
Currently, the Pinshape forums and the Pinshape blog are all separate entities that users need to visit and navigate individually. But the next step is to integrate all of the user’s activity from the Pinshape forums as well as what’s happening on the Pinshape blog, directly into the feed so users can keep track of everything on the site that interests them. You can take a look at the new Feed right now by logging in to Pinshape and taking a look around, and if you’re new to Pinshape, then this is a perfect time to start up an account and check it out. What are your thoughts on this new feature? Let us know in the Pinshape forum on 3DPB.com.