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Experience Concept

LinkedIn is a network of over 400 million professionals. We use the power of professional networking and profile data to connect individuals with relevant opportunities for professional growth, development, and career opportunities. 

When members are happy in their current positions, they become dormant users and choose not to spend their time on LinkedIn. So the challenge is to design a welcome back experience for a dormant user who is returning after 3+ months. Find a creative solution that gains the dormant user’s attention, and garners an action to actively participate on LinkedIn in any way.

Understanding the problem space ??

I am regular (and a returning) user on linkedin. I know the product good enough but I've not explored the depths of it, so I started by spending some time to explore linkedin and all its product. I wanted to get enough insight about each of its products and services to shape the right experience that serves business goals as well doesn't comprimise on the user experience. Given the challenge at hand, it seems like there's a disconnect in expectations between LinkedIn and its users and I thought that would be good starting point.

I wanted to get an outside perspective to get a better understanding of the problem at hand, there were a few questions like…

What do users think of LinkedIn and its products?

What do users primarily use it for? 

What does it has to offer on a daily basis?

What else were users doing on there?

Do they perceive value in the product?

Should I get ? for dinner?

Right, I needed answers. Decided to do a quick user study online as well as started asking some questions to some friends in person. Hoping to get some clear understanding on what's the product perception for the users. I created a quick google form survey with some important questions that would help me undertand the market fit and the userbase.

The Feedback ?

When I started asking people in person, casually, I started seeing a theme emerge in the responses. Something along the lines of 'well, its a professional network, and I am not looking for new opportunity right now'. It was becoming clear that for them linkedin was utility for finding the next opportunity and building bridges for that in terms of connecting professionally. So until such need arose, they didn't feel the urge to visit linkedin on a regular basis. I also got some interesting data from my online user study about their behavior.

Reasons to visit

Given its the largest professional network, it totally made sense that people are using linkedin to look into company and their teams. It a very valuable aspect when researching your next opportunity to know what kind of team you'll be working with.

Honestly, I expected this number to be slightly higher, given its one of the core actions of linkedin. But then again, it may be because there's a value disconnect between linkedin and the users.

This could be a good driver of engagement, the instantenous nature of messaging can be highly efficient in long term stickiness if the experience is right and it provides a unique value as compared to other messaging platform.

Status updates, including professional ones, exist almost on every other network. But people trust and rely on linkedin to be the true source for professional updates. 

…and Qualitative Feedback

These were some of the responses to why the users didn't visit frequently. This validates the hypotheses of people not seeing value in the product unless they're looking for their next opportunity.

Hypotheses ??

The initial research and feedback helped me identify two major pain points that can drive a user dormant.

People were not perceiving the true value of LinkedIn. 
It has a suite of products that go beyond the core scope, and can help you groom professionally by providing you with all the necessary resources. All of which can position & portray you better for the next opportunity. This is not what users are perceiving, due to lack of the efficient communication between the user and the interface.

This begged the question what makes product valuable? I was able to land on few key attributes of some of the valuable products

Personal    ⑊     Relevant   ⑊    Significant   ⑊    Functional    ⑊    Appealing

They were not liking the space
It was clear from the research and feedback from the users that most of them were not really 'interested' in whatever content they were offered when they come to linkedin, in the form of feed. It could get noisy and, more importantly, a very few of them are relevant to your goal. Its only natural to feel disconnected if its not directly helping you in any way. Plus a sea content could also become a layer of distraction, if you're trying to accomplish something. 

When asked about any potential area of improvement for linkedin, it was a theme too.

“Feed algorithm   ⑊    “less “spam” in the timeline, the timeline is flooded with pr linked post.
Maybe a filter for this.   ⑊    “Easier interest matching   ⑊    “Overall design

So it seemed users and the product can benefit by creating a personal space where the users can focus on themselves. Something they can curate and control. An effective vehicle to cater value proposition of different products linkedin has to offer on a perosnal level. When everything is directly relevant to you, the user engages more and is bound to take control of the space. 

    Understanding user persona
    A dormant user returning after 3+ months

      Know the product from 3 months ago.
      Their value perception is already biased from last visit.
      Their motivation to visit again is one of their the primary needs.
      They're at a risk of churning again, if their perception stays unchanged.
      They still rely on the product for their needs.
      They may be unaware of the other product offerings.

    For such a user experience, having a great re-onboarding is a must but is definitely not enough. Its critical to address the deeper problem of them not belonging and connecting with the product. 

      To the designcave ??

      I had the goal, hypotheses and some user research to help me pick a design direction. The design goal was simple and clear

        Re onboard the user on product updates.
        Get profile updates, if any.
        Introduce a personal space, with relevant information and complete user control.




      Learning cards exploration
      Explored the wide column and a square size card variation for cards. A grid of smaller cards can provide a visual break in the feed.

      Stacked cards
      A stacked version can add some depth to the UI. Plus, UI and interaction scales down to a mobile version as well. It makes for an engaging experience to discover more.

      This felt like a good framework to start with
      I decided to go with a separate feed in the UI vs introducing a filter to toggle between two spaces. Its a much simpler switching experience, especially when it may be repeated multiple times a day.

      Took it to the wires 
      Drew up some quick skeletal structure for the UI from the early sketches. Also explored few variations around cards and few other details. 

      Great to see you, again ??


      Its critical for users to build and keep their profile updated. By cutting the big task into this bite size, it makes it easier for the user to update the profile without leaving their feed. The direct and simple approach can also encourage user to share more frequently to keep the profile up to date.

      The idea is to serve 5 most closest matching jobs to their profile. This makes the recommendation more relevant to the user and creates stickiness by motivationg them to discover new jobs on a daily basis.

      Based on the most mutual connections and few other factors, serving the most relevant connection recommendations increases the chance of user connecting with that person. Discovering more is as easy as sliding the next batch in the same card.

      Posts from the groups that user is part of shows up in personal feed, for regular consumption of the content and/or participate in the commentary. An engaging experience that encourages user participation. According to my study, only 55% of users were aware of this product.

      Engaging users in a course not only benefits them but also linkedin as educational engagement tend to last bit longer and are healthier than other mechanisms. This is one of the highly valuable resource available to the users. By taking right courses on LinkedIn one easily boost their profile to match their ideal next opportunity.

      In Action
      A quick prototype for the onboarding flow, profile updating and adding an item to the personal feed experience.

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      Lets ask around

      I wanted to get some initial reaction and general sentiment around the concept, so I showed it to a few friends and colleagues. In order to get most honest and raw feedback, I simply started by asking 'If they use linkedin or not?' and 'what do they think of it?' and presented the concept as an alternative to current experience.
      This is what I heard...

      “Looks better the current version, cleaner...cool”   ⑊    “Interesting Idea, I guess, it could be more productive”   ⑊    “Neat, all my updates in one place...are they rolling this out?”   ⑊    “I like that I control the noise”   ⑊    “Ya, but i'd still not visit it daily, I don't want to raise flags at work”   ⑊    “Maybe. I'll need to use it to decide”


      This concept can really create a sense of connection and belonging between the linkedin and its userbase. To avert a user from turning dormant again, its critical that the perceived product value of linkedin is altered from just a professional network to professional partner that's with them throughout their journey. This puts the user at the center and humanizes the overall experience. In doing so, it also serves the business goals by leveraging other LinkedIn products and surfacing them to a space where have user is motivated to act and is undistracted. It also brings a sense of uniformity and appealing visuals to evolve the overall design of the product. I'd love to test this concept out by pushing it a small cohort of real users get some qualitative and quantive data to evaluate against the original hypotheses. 


      Happy users make a healthy product