LinkedIn has been rolling out a new desktop design to its 467 million members over the past few weeks. The new user experience provides a streamlined navigation, “smarter messaging,” improved feeds, “more intuitive searches,” and assistance with member profile design and assessing who has viewed your profile.
“Our goal is to ensure you can seamlessly access the most relevant professional conversations, content and opportunities whether you’re on our mobile app or on our desktop experience,” blogged LinkedIn Director of Engineering Chris Pruett. “Most importantly, this desktop redesign brings conversations and content to the heart of the platform, so you can more easily share ideas, join a discussion, and discover news and topics you care about.”
One of the focal areas for improvement is their feed. Although the company acquired Newsle and Pulse a few years ago, the feed has remained stubbornly off-message (I last complained about it in my December Five Hopes article). LinkedIn is promising that “with a combination of algorithms and human editors working together, we’ve fine tuned your Feed to surface the most relevant content from people and publishers you care most about. We’ll also be adding new ways for you to dive deep into specific topics relevant to you and follow trending stories.”
“The algorithm is the one taking the signals and the editorial team can highlight a specific story,” said Tomer Cohen head of content, search and discovery products at LinkedIn. “This is what I see as one of our strongest assets on LinkedIn, the collaboration between algorithm and editorial working together.”
The desktop will offer a universal search box for finding people, jobs, companies, groups, and schools. There is a set of filters which allow users to refine their search by content category. The user can then filter further by location, degree of connection, company affiliations, etc.
Post searching is coming soon. They don’t indicate whether they have solved their long-tail content search issue, but hopefully they are addressing that issue as well. If individuals and companies are to use LinkedIn posts to burnish their brands, the content needs to be accessible. It seems pointless to use LinkedIn as a blogging platform if your ideas fall below the surface after a few days and aren’t easily retrievable. They also need to surface postings and updates for individuals and companies within profiles. This content is some of the best material for understanding the interests, biases, and concerns of customers and prospects. It needs to be leveraged for job seekers, recruiters, sales reps, and researchers.
LinkedIn claims that they have already had some success with improving their feed. Over the past year, engaged sessions in the feed grew by forty percent and referral traffic to some their top posters doubled or trebled.
To assist members’ promotional activities, LinkedIn is honing its profile suggestions and providing “greater insight” into who has viewed your profile.
Messaging improvements include expanding the presence of messaging across LinkedIn pages and surfacing ice breakers such as individuals in your network that work at a firm.
I am still waiting for the rollout to reach my account, so I cannot comment on whether LinkedIn achieved their stated goals. However, there is a very popular Open Letter to CEO Jeff Weiner” excoriating him and LinkedIn on the redesign. Issues included the lack of a before and after comparison to assist with feature changes, slow performance, missing / hidden analytics, and weak precision on trending article display. The letter identified eleven areas of concern and includes a set of updates as he has had ongoing discussions with the firm since his letter was posted on the ninth. Normally, one would expect some blowback on any redesign, but in six days the letter has received nearly 6,000 likes and 1,300 comments.