New Linkedin Features – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

gbuReaction to the new Linkedin layout has been mixed, so I decided to take an in depth look at what’s hot and what’s not about the new Linkedin.

Overall the new design looks fresher, cleaner and modern and the facelift was probably long overdue.

However, the new look is not without some clunkiness which hasn’t gone unnoticed by many Linkedin users.

Also, the new features are being released in stages so not everyone will be seeing all of them yet.

 

The Good

1: Notifications

Linkedin notifications

Whenever someone comments, likes, accepts a connection invite or sends you an InMail, a little blue flag will appear in the menu bar, expanding when you hover over it to show you the latest activity.

It’s a small but useful change.

 

2: Recommendations On Your Site

Now this is really cool. You can now have your Linkedin recommendations appear on your own website.

In other words you can post a testimonial from someone in your Linkedin network to your site.

 

3: New Group Features

 - Trial period

You now have the ability to put new group applicants on a trial period.

- Better Looking Stats

The group stats pages are now more graphical and give a greater picture of how active and influential a group is. This is great if you’re considering joining a group and want to know if it’s worthwhile. You can see the growth of the group and the mix of professions that make up the group.

Linkedin group stats

 

4: Linkedin Today New Layout Plus Likes and Comments

Apart from a new look; Linkedin Today now has the ability to receive “likes” and “comments”. While this may be an improvement, like a lot of people I never found much use for Linkedin Today.

 

5: New Company Search

I’m not sure about this one. The company search feature is supposed to be better and show more relevant results but I can’t see any difference. I’ll trust them on this one.

 

6: Events in Your Area

This one I like and find really useful, even though there are some obvious teething problems. It allows you to put in your city, or a city you might be visiting and find out what events are on. For the serious networkers out there this is very handy.

New Linkedin Events

 

Teething problems? Local Perth sandgropers will note from the screenshot that for some reason Linkedin thinks Perth is in or near Bundaberg. Even by Australian standards, 3,000kms is still a long way away.

The events are actually in Perth so why they are listed under Bundaberg is weirdly amusing.

 

7: Skills Section and Endorsements

This section has had a facelift plus it now offers your connections the ability to endorse your skills at the click of a mouse.

New Linkedin skills and endorsementsThis is perhaps a much easier way to get your connections to endorse you than asking them for a recommendation.

As long as people don’t abuse it or try to game it, it seems like a worthy improvement.

Remarkably, when I went to endorse some of my connections many of them hadn't even filled this section out.

So now would be the perfect time to tune up your professional Linkedin profile.

 

8: Profile Images Bigger

In keeping with the trend for a more visual web, Linkedin has made the space for your profile picture bigger, a lot bigger. (See screenshot further down in this post.)

Now might be the time to get a professional photo done. Though if you have a head better suited to radio this might not be seen as a plus.

As I've said previously having a proper profile shot is essential if you want people to connect with you.  How to Connect on Linkedin With the new bigger photo space it is even more important.

 

9: Update Images Bigger

In a similar vein when sharing something on the home page any images will now be bigger.

 

10: Twitter Feed’s been Pulled

Hooray, it never worked properly anyway and now at least will be spared the inane shares of what some people are having for breakfast.

 

11: Profile Summary Now More Prominent

Back on your profile page you may have noticed the summary section is now more prominent. As many people in the past either didn’t really complete this, or used it to list skills, it’s now time to rewrite it and optimise it properly to showcase your talents.

 

The Bad

1: Jerky Scrolling Home Page Layout

This is perhaps the one thing about the new layout that drives me nuts. As you scroll down the feed on your home page Linkedin will suddenly reload the page and fill it with even more updates.

The problem is it doesn’t maintain the place where you were reading and you have to scroll way back up the page to find where you last were.

And of course as soon as you’ve scrolled down a bit more, it does it again, and again and again. Force feeding you new updates before you’ve had a chance to properly view the ones you’re currently looking at.

Also, if you want to get to the links at the bottom of the page, you can’t, every time you try Linkedin reloads the page and you’re back halfway up the page.

This is a serious usability issue. To be fair, this design trick is not limited to LinkedIn and is popular on many websites. The intention may have been good but the implementation is abominable.

The other problem with this technique is that it breaks one of the fundamental aspects of web user experience. That is, for the most part a web user controls their experience, deciding on what they want to view, when they view it or click on it and when they want more information.

This new technique takes that control away from them and, as I said, force feeds them new content regardless of whether they want it or not.

 

2: Smaller Profile Column

While Linkedin has made your profile picture bigger, they’ve actually made the width of your profile slightly smaller. It may only be a small change, but it means your information is more compressed and there is perhaps more room for bigger ads on the right hand side.

I have a suspicious amount of empty white space at the top of my right hand column and I am expecting to see ads there any day now.

 

3: Less Info in Your Top Profile Section

This is the one area that has attracted the most criticism. Linkedin has made the picture bigger and removed a lot of the information that used to be at the top of your profile.

Previously you could get a complete impression of a person from this section as you saw much more of their current and past employment details as well as their web and blog addresses.

Much of that information is now hidden, and what’s left is cramped up more because of the larger profile picture.

It may look prettier but it is much less functional.

 

4: Hidden Web Addresses

As mentioned above, your web addresses have been removed from your top profile description. Well actually they’ve hidden them in two places.  To access the first, hover over your company name and a popup should appear with more company info and a link to your website.

new Linkedin Company Popup

I must admit when I first saw this I hated it, but I can see how it does actually provide more user info.

The only real and significant problem I have with it is that people have to hover over the company name in the first place. I can’t see people doing this naturally to start with. They may learn to do it over time, but for now it falls into the category of “mystery meat navigation”.

See earlier post How to Promote Your Blog Thru Linkedin

 

5: No More Descriptive Headings for Your Web Addresses

One of the advantages of the old design was that you could use descriptive titles or calls to action for your website links.  The above change doesn’t allow that, however the old links are still there if you click and expand the Contact box icon at the bottom of this section.

New Linkedin Profile Image

 

Apart from the unforgivable sin of using grey text on a grey background, at least the old information is still there. Personally I would prefer it if this section was permanently open. That would at least alleviate some of the major criticisms of the new design.

While many things have been changed around on the profile layout, my previous tips on How to Turbo Charge Your Linkedin Profile are still valid.

6: Linkedin isn’t Accepting Any Feedback

Surprisingly while Linkedin is making plenty of noise about the new design, it doesn’t seem to be willing to take feedback or comments on the new design. The comments section on its blog where it announced these changes is turned off.

That’s a shame, because all in all with a few tweaks their new design and features could be so much better.

 

7: Other Criticisms

Here’s what some other Linkedin guru’s had to say about the new changes and layout.

Where did vCards and Network Statistics Go?

LinkedIn Update: Time for a Profile Tuneup

 

The Ugly

1: The New Blue Update Button

It’s ugly, unnecessary, doesn’t work and isn’t accurate.

When you’re viewing the feed on your home page, if you get any new updates a square blue button will appear at the top of the feed telling you how many new updates you have.

Unfortunately it seems to have a mind of its own as to if it’s going to work or not when you press it. Even when it does decide to work, I get results of 1 second ago next to others of 22 hours ago.

 

2: Shows Top Updates Instead of Recent Ones

This one may catch many users off guard and again falls under the category of Linkedin forcing on you what it thinks you want rather than what you choose to want, and taking away your control of your experience.

New Linkedin Homepage LayoutBy default, Linkedin will now show you the top items in your feed rather than the most recent ones.

Plus they seem to be using the same hopeless algorithm that made Linkedin Today so meaningless.

I just don’t want to see what the top item was from yesterday; I want to see what the most recent activity is right now. That’s the whole point of having the feed.

Granted, you can change the setting by hovering over the All Updates tab, but like many things about the new design, selecting the Recent setting doesn’t always work.

Plus, I can’t permanently set it to Recent. Every time I login to Linkedin I have to remember to reset it.

 

Conclusion

There’s a few more things I could say both positive and negative about the new Linkedin design and features, but the above post covers most of it.

On reflection there are more positive’s than negatives, and some of the negatives may just be teething problems so on the whole it’s a change for the better.

Linkedin has also introduced some major changes to the Company pages, but I’ll cover those in another post.

 

Training

If you need training on how to use Linkedin for business or your own professional development, then feel free to give me a call.

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