In September of 2016, LinkedIn made a bunch of announcements – one of them was about an upcoming redesign for the desktop website. Today, LinkedIn is rolling out this update to its users worldwide.
The Largest Redesign
LinkedIn has dubbed this massive overhaul as its “largest desktop redesign” since its inception. The new design borrows much of the design cues from LinkedIn’s existing mobile apps – certainly not a bad thing.
The design is cleaner, less cluttered, and looks modern, unlike the LinkedIn of yesterday that was more likely to be conceived in the early 2000’s. LinkedIn says the new design is “focused on bringing conversations and content to the forefront.”
LinkedIn’s new design segregates the website into seven areas: Home, Messaging, Jobs, Notifications, Me, My Network, and Search. Home represents the news feed, while the ‘Me’ page is your profile. The rest of them are quite obvious.
A key feature of LinkedIn – messaging – has received some significant updates. LinkedIn is now using popups instead of a separate page for messaging – these are identical to how Facebook does its thing.
LinkedIn is also introducing its own take on Chatbots; these bots will suggest topics to talk about if you need to “break the ice” when starting a conversation with someone new. Additionally, LinkedIn will also highlight a few people you could talk to; these people could be people you studied with or your colleagues at a large company.
The search is now universal; a single search box capable of searching every nook and corner of the LinkedIn service; that includes people, jobs, companies, groups, and schools.
There’s one category missing from that list, and it might alarm you: posts. This universal search does not have the ability to search for posts – not yet, at least. It’s a feature that’s still not ready; LinkedIn says it will be added at some point in the future, but there is no timeline except “soon.”
The rest of the categories feature a few filters to refine the search results. As an example, searching for a person on LinkedIn will let you filter them by location, company, past companies, industry, and school.
Additionally, you can also set up alerts for search results; these work with every search result, and notify you of any updates via email or text.
Lastly, the universal search box also supports the ‘AND’ and ‘OR’ operators, along with a few parameters.
For example, here’s a search query you could type:
firstname:John lastname:Smith title:”software engineer” school:(harvard OR stanford).
The above query would list all software engineers named John Smith who have studied at Harvard or Stanford.
LinkedIn also offers more extensive search filters that allow you to filter people with a certain amount of experience, for example; that feature, however, remains locked behind a paid tier of the service.
The feed has received quite a lot of changes – but most of the updates are behind the scenes. The Feed remains the home of LinkedIn; it still curates and highlights activity from the people in your network, but it’s much simpler to browse now.
The content featured on the home feed is a combination of hand-made human-curated suggestions featuring content from LinkedIn at large, and algorithmic sorting to bring content personalized for the user from their network.
LinkedIn claims that it has made many improvements to the latter – the algorithmic content sorting; the feed is supposed to be much smarter now, but that’s something users will have to test for themselves.
Microsoft purchased LinkedIn in 2016 – much like Beam – for a sweet $26 billion. Since then, the service has seen many hardships – including a few from Russia.
LinkedIn’s biggest problems have always been its cluttered experience. It’s meant to be a social network for professionals, but it is rather used as an “about” page instead.
That’s not a bad thing – it’s fits with the idea of LinkedIn – but it’s meant to be much more.
The redesign makes the service friendlier to newer as well as existing users. It’s obvious where LinkedIn got its inspiration from – Facebook – but a redesign is not enough.
LinkedIn now has to convince its users for another chance: use the service as a social network for professionals, rather than a directory of professionals. It’s not just about updating the resume every once in a while, but also using the service for other professional needs.
Whatever comes out of it – one thing is certain: Microsoft is now covering every demographic better than it has ever done before. There’s Beam for the streamers, Xbox for the gamers, LinkedIn for the professionals, and Windows and Office remain for everybody.