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LinkedIn Renovation: How the New User Interface Stacks Up

March 04, 2017

When a popular social media platform, such as LinkedIn or Facebook, undergoes a huge interface revamp, I think of it like a home renovation. Sure, you may need to knock down a few walls, rip up carpet, and make a huge mess, but it will all be worth it in the end.

You want to make sure that everything, which made your home special is still there when you’re done. With that in mind, here’s my take on the recent LinkedIn user interface update…

LinkedIn's new desktop user interface is still rolling out as of this writing. About 90% of LinkedIn users reportedly have the new version and LinkedIn reports that 100% rollout should be done by the end of March 2017.

The reason behind the update was to simplify the desktop experience and bring it in line with the LinkedIn mobile app. Since users depend on LinkedIn for job search, marketing, and lead generation, the importance of a successful rollout is critical.

It’s unsettling to login to a frequently visited website only to see a brand new, unfamiliar interface. While we LinkedIn experts, trainers and coaches have known about this revision for months, the average user has not.

LinkedIn made discreet announcements about their changes so this change is causing a lot of users to scratch their head. My clients and followers have messaged me on all platforms to ask questions about the new user interface (UI). Where did some tools go? What happened to the background image? Where is advanced search? I can’t find my favorite features? Why does it look like Facebook now?

Over the last few weeks, I've heard complaints, frustration, and confusion about how to use the new UI. Like many software rollouts, things seem to change daily, based on user feedback and complaints.

Favorite features, which LinkedIn took away during the beta version around the holidays, are trickling back in. There are still several bugs in the system and they’re being worked out, broken links need to be fixed and stabilized, and more intuitive navigation needs to return. But the question is, how much has LinkedIn really changed?

Frankly, the user experience is quite different. That doesn’t make it a bad thing but it does take some thoughtful review, adaptation, and appreciating some of the new features.

The new look and feel is refreshing and not as clunky looking, which was badly needed to improve the design. Some design issues are still being worked out and will likely continue for a while. Exercise patience, if you can.

Some features, like Advanced Search, which was a big reason for users to purchase Premium-level accounts, have moved into LinkedIn’s pricey Sales Navigator product. We’re told – and seeing – that some level of a deeper Search experience is, indeed, returning.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll continue to use, test, and examine the new interface, learning the ins and outs, differences and improvements, so I can pass that information on to you. Here are a few observations about how it works, and how you can optimize your new LinkedIn profile page.

When you visit your LinkedIn profile now, you’ll see your profile picture in a circle at the top of the page. (It used to be in a square box to the left of your name and headline.)

When you click on the ‘Home’ tab in the toolbar, your newsfeed will appear and your profile will be in a vertical box to the left. Your newsfeed is now more prominent and has a similar look to Facebook’s newsfeed.

In the vertical box on your newsfeed page, you’ll see number of people who have viewed your profile and the number of people who have viewed your articles. This information was available in the old interface, but it is now more prominent on the page.

Your headline also has more prominence on your profile page. Although LinkedIn will default to your current job title as your headline, you should revise it and write a dynamic description of who you are. This should include a few nuggets about who you are, your industry, something quirky or interesting, and use keywords and search terms as appropriate. Headlines are searchable by search engines. You have 120 characters in your headline; make them count.

The Summary section has changed, too. Your Summary is what I refer to as the “guts” of your profile. You have 2,000 characters here. That’s valuable real estate to tell a story, describe a reader’s pain point and use your expertise to explain how you solve their pain point.

In the old interface, your entire Summary was visible in a full block of text. In the new UI, only the first two lines of your Summary appear in your profile header followed by a "See More" link to view the full Summary.

The first two lines of your Summary matter now more than ever.

Those two lines (and there’s no set character count here; somewhere between 200-230 seems to work) should grab your readers’ attention and make them want to learn more about you.

When editing your summary, remember it’s still THE place for your personal story – your personal brand – to live. Your personal story helps showcase and reinforce your personal brand. If your Summary doesn’t engage a potential client or hiring manager, they’re likely to move on to another profile. Be sure to stand out!

Despite LinkedIn’s renovation, the need to be on LinkedIn and have a stellar profile is still critical. If you’ve spent time and effort in building a solid, compelling LinkedIn profile, you need to login and adapt it to the new design.

If your LinkedIn profile hasn’t switched over yet, or you simply want to see how the old compares to the new, you can find a helpful, comprehensive video about it here.

My friend and world-renowned LinkedIn expert, Viveka von Rosen, used my profile to demonstrate how the new UI looks. She does a side-by-side comparison between the new and the old. (Note, some features, which she discusses, have since returned, but it’s still relevant to show you some of the primary modifications.)

In the meantime, I'm finding new features I do like, some I'll have to learn to embrace, and I have a lot of hope that LinkedIn will continue to add back in some of the features for which the platform is best known.

Do you have the new user interface? What do you think?