Log in to LinkedIn today and you might notice a few changes.
The Mountain View-based social network has been designing a new homepage for users for the better part of 2014, and is finally ready to start rolling out results. The new design isn’t radical, but is noticeably different and more streamlined than the previous one.
Joff Redfern, LinkedIn’s vice president of mobile product, was one of the leaders of the redesign project, which was focused on focusing user attention to key aspects of LinkedIn’s content.
“We broke it down into three areas we thought we could make a big difference,” he said. “Helping users better monitor their professional brand; helping members stay connected with their network; And streamlining the feed itself.”
The new homepage highlights activity metrics at the top center—stats like how many people have viewed your profile recently and how engaged people are with a recent post you made—and personal network updated in the top right. LinkedIn calls this the “Keep in Touch” box. Redfern said this aspect of the redesign in particular had caught people’s attention during internal testing.
“If something important was happening in your network, it disappeared off the newsfeed relatively quickly,” he said. “As friends, that information is important to me. Putting that information in its own area was super valuable for people. Now they don’t lose these important events.”
By moving personal network events like someone getting a new job to its own box, LinkedIn has also streamlined the newsfeed (by narrowing its focus), which was also a main goal for the redesign.
“We want to make it clear that the feed is the spine of the homepage,” Redfern said. “We brought some of the stuff on the right rail into the feed, simplified the presentation of the updates, making it easier to parse, and spent time on the relevancy algorithms to make sure we’re surfacing content that is most relevant to you.”
The redesign does not include any extra functionality or features for premium members.
These changes make the newsfeed more about content than network updates and by making engagement metrics more visible, the new page also creates more obvious positive reinforcement for writing posts. The emphasis on content shouldn’t come as a surprise. LinkedIn has been trying to make itself into a publishing platform—not just a glorified resume repository—for some time.
The new homepage has been undergoing internal testing at LinkedIn for several months, with limited external testing going on over the last month or so. LinkedIn intends to have the new page rolled out for all users by early 2015.
Photo by Will Scullin.