LinkedIn is 15 years old and like any teenager on the verge of adulthood, LinkedIn too has gone in for a major makeover. A first since its inception, this overhaul essentially signals that the world's ‘largest professional networking website’ has rolled up its sleeves and is ready for the competition. The company acknowledged the changes in a blog post adding that it hoped the LinkedIn experience will now be faster and more intuitive and thus create more value for the customer.
The blog post emphasised that the changes have focussed on making content the king and encouraging more conversations -- ideas sharing, discussions and news exchange. Let us now examine the changes and why you should care about them.
What has changed?
The new website has had a both front and back-end overhaul. The most visible feature of the change is its dramatic reduction of clutter. The design has been affected to give the desktop version and the mobile app a consistent structure and look so that future changes in architecture can be enabled smoothly and quickly. This certainly seems to be working as the site looks much cleaner, easier to navigate and most importantly, faster. LinkedIn's reputation as a clunky user experience might soon be a thing of the past.
Some of the main new features include:
- Streamlined navigation: Drawing inspiration from other popular social media networks, LinkedIn has introduced navigation with seven core areas: home, messaging, notifications, jobs, me, my network and search. Other features are available if you click on the 'more' option.
- Search re-jigged: The search function has undergone interesting changes and now LinkedIn users can use a single search bar to access all the features -- jobs, groups, companies and people. The search can also be further refined with specific queries.
- Message smarter: LinkedIn calls this feature ‘smarter messaging’. Essentially, messages will now appear on the bottom of the screen much like Facebook. With this real-time messaging service, users can now message connections whenever they are online. LinkedIn will also offer suggestions for conversations at opportune times, for instance, when new jobs are posted.
- Enhanced feed: LinkedIn has introduced new algorithms and along with human editors, the feed has been fine-tuned to be more relevant to the user. It also promises to throw up content on topics the user has earlier expressed interest in and also help the user navigate to trending stories.
- Better profile visibility: Not only is there greater insight into who is viewing your profile and engaging with your content, your profile is also said to improve, with LinkedIn providing suggestions for changes based on job requirements, recruiters' needs etc.
Why should you care?
Because LinkedIn's main stated goal for the overhaul is to encourage more conversations and better content, this can only be a good experience for the regular user. In addition to providing more clarity, the makeover may also result in better utilisation of LinkedIn's main services -- job seeking and networking. And since the redesign takes into account both the desktop and the mobile app versions, the biggest positives will be the ease with which a user can navigate between them and the simplicity of search and navigation that it promises.
In conclusion, one can safely say that the LinkedIn makeover will create more value for the user who can access better content, have more relevant professional conversations, seamlessly dive into trending stories and easily share ideas and news bits with connections who matter. The icing on the cake is the improved search option which might well get the user his dream job without too much trouble.