LinkedIn has begun an incremental roll-out of a Hollywood-chick-flick worthy makeover to their site’s UI. The update of LinkedIn’s design was long overdue, with even co-founder Reid Hoffman calling the old site “confusing” and “needing work.”
However, as LinkedIn steps out into the limelight with a slow motion hair flick and an 80’s power track, the internet has proceeded to fly off the handle — but not in a good way.
Users are far from thrilled about LinkedIn’s new design, many expressing disappointment and outrage over the changes. Likewise, it did not go unnoticed that LinkedIn’s new look is essentially a copy-paste of the visual layout of popular, older sister, Facebook.
However, the tactic has been applauded by opinion leaders in the field. The strategy is simple: LinkedIn is sacrificing originality in order to capitalize on the familiarity and ease with which Facebook’s 1.86 billion users navigate the platform.
Will this move actually improve UX?
Say goodbye to LinkedIn searches of the past
The main item causing waves on the interweb, is the change to the search toggles. Advanced search will no longer be accessible from “freemium” LinkedIn, forcing those who rely on this function to upgrade to the paid Sales Navigator subscription.
When Microsoft bought the social media platform in June of 2016, they dropped hints of this change by saying they felt they could “accelerate monetization through individual and organization subscriptions.” It seems the remodel is aiming at evolving the Business Plus premium subscription into a jacked-up job seeker product.
Some key changes resulting from LinkedIn’s new design, which have drawn attention include (but are not limited to):
- The Profile sections can no longer be reordered.
- The summary now only shows the first two lines without clicking “read more,” making it easily missable by someone skimming your page.
- Blog posts showing up in individual search results (plus for bloggers and content distributors).
- Added media is now allocated to specific profile sections.
- Tagging your connection in order to manage relationships, is no longer available.
Additionally, if you’re not currently a paying user, LinkedIn is offering a fresh set of free trials in honor of their new price structure. So even if you’ve exhausted these trials in the past, you can now revisit them.
LinkedIn is offering one month of the new Sales Navigator for free or three months Recruiter Lite. Take advantage of these before jumping to any purchasing decisions.
The User Experience of LinkedIn’s New Design… Might Not Be That Different
With all the smoke, mirrors and fuss over LinkedIn UI redesign, it is easy to forget that UI does not equate UX. The two disciplines are often blurred, and this offers an excellent opportunity to identify the distinction.
LinkedIn’s look and feel has changed—it is cleaner, sleeker and more refined. Logging in and seeing this shiny new exterior makes the LinkedIn world seem like a whole new place.
Ultimately, the experience of sifting through profiles, promoting content, and searching for relevant job openings has remained largely the same. The users’ experience with the website is still confusing where it was confusing before.
This begs the question, is a UI makeover worth the investment if UX is not the focus point of the redesign?