Pinstack, one of the oldest (founded 2004) and largest (over 300,000 registered members) BlackBerry user forums has changed it’s focus. Sometime in the last year or so the site gained Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Palm and other smartphone sub-forums and changed its byline from “Where BlackBerry professionals Connect!” to “Smartphone Professionals Alliance!”.
PinStack has always been a very active and well run forum with many knowledgeable and active users, so as someone who is interested in all mobile platforms I welcome the diversification. Still the majority of activity is in the BlackBerry forums and I think that PinStack will always be thought of first and foremost as a BlackBerry site.
The mobile versions of PinStack’s news blog (pinstack.com) and forums (forums.pinstack.com) were redesigned last year. There are no mobile specific URLs, browser detection and redirection are used to route visitors to the appropriate version. The new look is very iPhonesque.
It reminds me of the iPhone optimized WPTouch WordPress plugin but PinStack is a vBulletin site rather than WordPresss. At any rate the site looks good in full web mobile browsers from Opera Mini to the iPhone. Page size (the pinstack.com mobile homepage is over 300 KB) will probably make the site a non-starter on dumbphones but that’s not the target audience. The mobile pages are not at all “dumbed down” and contain the full content and functionality of their desktop equivalents including posting to the forums and marking posts as “trusted”.
I did notice a small but annoying usability glitch with PinStack Mobile. The PinStack homepage and the forums aren’t very well connected. At least I couldn’t find a link from the forums to the homepage. Most of the items on the homepage point to forum threads but once you start navigating around the forums the only way back to the homepage seems to be by pressing the back button repetitively. And if you start at forums.pinstack.com there’s no way to get to homepage at all. It’s a minor thing but definitely makes navigation harder. All that’s really needed is for clicking the PinStack logo at the top of Forum pages to take you back to pinstack.com rather than the top level of the forums as it does now.
Ratings: Content Usability
Ready.mobi Score: 2 “Bad”
Mobile Link: pinstack.com