There’s been a lot of talk in the market about upcoming changes to LinkedIn’s user experience (UX). Many people in the United States have already started seeing some of the changes, and from what we’re hearing, the update should be rolled out globally within the next few months.
I recently sat down with Koka Sexton, LinkedIn’s original social selling expert, to take a sneak peek into some of the these changes. Overall, the new experience is cleaner and more intuitive, but it does come with changes to some major features. Here are the main highlights:
Pro: Improved workflow. As you can see, a major hallmark of the changes is improved user workflow. You will now be able to see the number of people who’ve viewed your profile, as well as views of your latest post, all in one sidebar. LinkedIn has retained the basic like, comment and share functions within the feed itself, but in terms of experience, I’m a big fan of this new Navigator-kind of look.
Con: Still lack of filtering. One thing I’ve had difficulty with in the past, which is much better in Navigator, is the ability to filter information on your home feed. Even in search, there’s virtually no filtering at all. As you can see from the search we conducted below for Sales for Life, all the filters will also now be located on the right.
Pro: Improved integration into the overall experience. From a user-experience perspective, the advanced search is much better than the previous version. Users can still do Boolean-style advanced searches, and its integration has been improved into the overall experience. Also a huge plus is being able to search posts, which has been a feature of the mobile app for some time but still nonetheless useful on desktop now when searching your stream.
Con: Less search functionality. The update combines the general and advanced search functions together, meaning some search functionality has been lost. This is a bit of a hit for sales professionals who were using free LinkedIn to do in-depth prospecting.
Con: Can no longer save searches for notifications. While we did not see the ability to save your searches, anecdotally we’re told that they are coming back. But for now, another downside to the mashing of search functions is that users can no longer save searches for notifications. If you’re practising trigger-based selling using LinkedIn and haven’t experienced the changes yet, I might suggest going into your account and saving your searches before they’re gone forever! Perhaps, as rumoured, they will be grandfathered in. If not, at least you’ll get buyer opportunity notifications for a couple months.
Pro: Notifications of network activity more prominent. With the new update, you can see how LinkedIn is stressing the importance of insights. All your network activity and profile/content engagement notifications are more prominently displayed, each with their own dedicated section. All it takes is a quick glance to get intelligence into the analytics of your post.
Difference: Click notifications. The user experience differs a bit in terms of interacting with new notifications. Whereas in previous versions of LinkedIn you used to be able to hover over notifications to see them, now you actually have to click on them.
Profile Page Redesign
Pro: Contact info more accessible. A huge plus to the new user experience is how contact information is displayed on user profiles. Now, a user’s contact info is more accessible, aligned to the right hand side of the page rather than in the body. This kind of information is obviously crucial for prospecting, so LinkedIn made the right decision by making it more accessible at first-glance.
Pro: User activity like publishing and content sharing is now more visible. If you’re looking to see what kind of content someone is engaging with, LinkedIn has made it much, much easier to do that. Whereas previously, you would have to scroll down someone’s profile and click a little “See more” button, as you can now see, posts and activity take front stage in the user experience.
Pro: More streamlined workflow with condensed views that can be expanded. All of these changes make for a way more intuitive user-experience. I felt with the previous version of LinkedIn, there was a ton of extraneous information. With these updates, for the most part, they’re really trying to hone in on what sales people find most valuable and emphasize that on their profiles.
Con: Can no longer see one-to-one activity history. A downside of this information streamlining is that LinkedIn has cut out one-to-one activity history between users (i.e. when you connected, when you last exchanged messages). Again, if there are important accounts you want to track history with, I’d suggest taking note of them before the changes are fully implemented.
Con: Smaller, circular profile pictures. Looks like LinkedIn is taking a page out of Apple’s book here. With the new updates, user’s profile pictures are noticeably smaller and displayed as circles, which reminds me of the iPhone or Apple user experience. The downside of this is that a person’s face is less prominently featured on their profile. Though it should be noted you can still upload square pictures, LinkedIn will just give you the option of cropping them into a circle.
My Network Section
Pro: Easier accessibility to information. The previous version of LinkedIn had a drop down menu that displayed connections, contacts, people you know and alumni. With the updates, there’s easier accessibility to more information on connection invites, people you may know, and the like, all conveniently located in one place.
Pro: Improved filtering of 1st degree of connections. The streamlining of information also allows users to further filter their 1st degree connections, which was fairly limited before. Now you can filter people by their geography, company, etc., as you can see below.
Pro: Easier accessibility between LinkedIn and Navigator. In terms of the inbox messaging, it looks like messages between LinkedIn and Navigator are easier to access from one place. As shown in the screen capture below, the “Visit more LinkedIn Products” grid-like button houses a bunch of other integrations which were previously scattered between “Account & Settings” and “Messages.” Again, this makes for a much cleaner user experience.
Con: Two systems not well integrated. Though LinkedIn has obviously made an effort to improve the user experience, I find LinkedIn and Navigator are still not well integrated and act as separate tools. There is no seamlessness between design or functionality, meaning you still need to go back and forth to use the separate products. Perhaps this is something LinkedIn is already working on, but it currently inhibits my workflow and, in my opinion, the overall platform’s effectiveness.
Content Sharing Metrics
Pro: Increased visibility. With the update, users will see increased visibility on how much reach each individual share receives in terms of views, etc. This is useful for salespeople who want to improve their content sharing capacity, and just generally know what’s working and what’s not. You can see the analytics available with Koka’s post below: 477 views, 7 people from LinkedIn, 92 had the title “salesperson,” and the biggest audience, which was San Francisco.
Con: Decreased Publisher analytics. Though content sharing metrics have improved, LinkedIn has unfortunately decreased LinkedIn Publisher analytics. The above screenshot shows the new interface; the old, below. They’ve removed the visual of views over time, as well as in-depth analytics on top industries, job titles location and traffic source. Now, they’ve chosen just to display the top metric. While this is useful, as a big user of LinkedIn Publisher, I find more visibility into my post analytics helps me optimize my writing and posting time.
Full disclosure: I’m not entirely sure this is how the changes are going to appear for every user. This is just a sneak peek. I must say the ability to save searches (for regular LinkedIn not Navigator) and watered down analytics for LinkedIn publisher were two major downsides for me. But the sleek and user-friendly experience might just make up for it in the long run. What do you think? Leave a message in the comment box below!