A new year, a new look LinkedIn…that’s what we should expect for 2017…or so LinkedIn keeps telling us…
We’ve been hearing about the LinkedIn desktop redesign for quite a while now, and although rollout dates have been pushed back more than once, our research indicates LinkedIn members in the UK will likely receive the new look user interface (UI) by the early Summer, if not before. So why the change and how will it alter the way members use this platform?
LinkedIn have been working for a while to create a more consistent user experience across desktop and mobile and this latest update is a significant move towards providing this. So, you can expect that with the redesign of the desktop version your LinkedIn profile will look and feel much like what you see on your phone. Of course, as you’d expect with any new update to their platform, LinkedIn also claims that the new user interface is “more intuitive, faster and creates more value for you . . . helping to more easily surface ideas, drive conversation and discover news and topics you care about.”
So what’s the verdict?
Well, although I, like the majority of LinkedIn members, do not have the newly redesigned desktop version yet, from analysing the profiles of clients who have received the new rollout and the information coming directly from LinkedIn, here’s my view on some of the good and not so good changes that LinkedIn’s desktop redesign will offer:
1. More streamlined and easy to navigate
On the pro side – it’s true to say that LinkedIn has created a more streamlined and simplified look that supports easier navigation. Instead of the mixed menu of drop downs across the top left-side and icons on top right – the new user interface mirrors the mobile version with just six icons and a ‘More’ section, where you can find, among other things, Profinder (a feature that helps companies tendering projects connect with freelancers/consultants – soon to be rolled out across the UK), Slideshare and the Post a Job feature, without having to search around for them.
Further, drilling down into the My Network, Notification and Me icons the more streamlined and intuitive theme continues.
The new ‘Me’ tab brings together functionality from across the old site to help members not only view and edit their profiles but also offering access to Privacy & Settings, Help Centre and Language features as well as Sign Out, all of which are helpful for managing and using the platform more effectively.
The new ‘My Network’ tab now allows you to see and manage all your connection invitations, as well as professionals you may want to build relationships with and your full 1st degree connection list, in one clean and easily navigable place.
Further, the redesign of the ‘Notification’ tab now brings together into one place notifications that were previously scattered across the old desktop version (including the homepage ‘Keep in Touch’ box and the flag icon on the top right menu). Using this new icon, members will be able to see when connections move jobs, have work anniversaries and endorse them or when members in their networks publish an article, are mentioned in the news, or engage with their articles or shared content.
2. Increasing Engagement
Though the full version of the Summary section is no longer visible, I would argue that the placement of the first two lines of the Summary in the top section of the new UI (see yellow highlighted section in Fig 3 below) is actually a pro rather than a con.
Not only will the new positioning encourage members to view each-others’ summaries, but because only the first two lines will be visible from the profile page, it should get members thinking about how to create an impactful two line statement or question that will really draw visitors into their Summary sections (a definite pro in my view).
The new look profiles will, as with the mobile version, have a ‘Highlights’ section directly below the top (introduction) section – see Fig 3 above – where LinkedIn will suggest what members have in common. So, when viewing someone’s profile via the new UI, the ‘Highlights’ section will show any mutual connections, companies where both members have worked, groups their both in or companies where they can help with an introduction. Definitely useful for helping members identify ways to engage and connect with each-other.
3. Building your network
Last, but by no means least, invitations just got easier. Following the mobile version, with the desktop redesign members no longer need to give a reason or have an email address to invite another member to connect. And in addition, the feature allowing you to personalise your invitation is now more visible and easier to use.
Note: For a brief overview of the new LinkedIn desktop interface see here.
On the downside, LinkedIn appears to have removed some functionality that many members will not welcome.
1. Say goodbye to Advanced Search
Perhaps the most important function lost as a result of this current redesign is the removal of the Advanced Search feature for free and Business Plus account holders. The search function offered with the new UI offers one search box where members can search for people, jobs, companies, groups and schools – see Fig 4 below.
However, the more refined search filters previously offered by the Advanced Search tool have not been retained. Consequently, free and Business Plus members will have a more limited ability to search for prospective clients, influencers, partners and employers.
Members can still filter by level of connections (first, second, or third), general locations (but not post codes), companies, industries, profile language, non-profit, language, and schools and Boolean searches are still available, albeit in a more limited capacity.
2. Saved Searches have gone
In addition, it appears that, at least for now, saved searches have also been removed. Consequently, members will no longer be able to save a search result, which carried the added benefit of alerts from LinkedIn as new members who met the search criteria were added to it. And it would seem that previously saved searches will also disappear. So, for those free and Business Plus members who use LinkedIn to prospect, this is certainly a loss.
Note: For a short video on what the new search feature looks like and how to use it see here.
3. Reduced ability to use LinkedIn as a mini CRM
Other functions that have been removed from the new UI include the ability to tag and thereby filter 1st degree connections using keywords and the ‘Relationship’ section (currently located immediately under the photo/intro section of 1st degree connections), which offered another place to record information, communications etc to help members manage their connections more effectively. Free and Business Plus members who have hither to used these features as a mini CRM, are therefore likely to be disappointed.
So, that’s the latest on some of the more important changes that will reveal themselves when we finally get the new LinkedIn desktop redesign here in the UK. But as has happened with previous platform updates, it is true to say that some of these changes, especially where functionality has been removed, may be somewhat of a moving target as the rollout continues and LinkedIn gauges members’ reactions to it. Needless to say, here at Marshall Walker we will keep you posted as and when redesign features are changed, and we’ll be hosting a webinar to run through the whole redesign as soon as the rollout hits the UK. So watch this space!
In the meantime, what do you think of the new LinkedIn desktop redesign? We’d be very interested to read your comments below and please do get in touch if you need any help getting to grips with how to use LinkedIn more effectively – that’s the old or the new version!