Managing Identity on LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s mission is “To connect the world’s professional to make them more productive and successful.”

Managing professional identify is important in today’s dynamic environment. LinkedIn acts as a one stop shop to manage professional identity. From blog posts to work experiences and educational background to projects, LinkedIn has become the de-facto platform to showcase skills.

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Your LinkedIn profile defined your online professional identity and the interface to edit the profile is amazing. Let us explore the profile edit options and some possible enhancements.

The layout as depicted, consists of the photo on the left and the associated information. Adding a photo exponentially increases the likelihood of the profile being viewed and hence a suitable profile picture is critical. Putting a face to the name, helps people resonate better. Messages and conversations over are phone are better registered if we could associate a face to the name and the conversation. Given the importance of profile picture, profile picture is prominently visible.

Change Photo:

On the edit profile mode, hover over any area in the space above the dotted line highlights the change photo option. Upon clicking on the change photo, the following dialog box opens up:

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The interface is very ‘consistent’ in terms of design and is branded very well using the simple design predominated by grey and blue. The affordance is good in terms of cropping  the existing photo and resizing it. Once the user clicks on the change photo link, the process of changing photo is easy and the affordance is good.

The visibility could be better, since the main intent of this page is to change the photo and the link is very small and is not the first intent that flashes to the eye. The affordance could be better and the page can be redesigned this way to capture the main intent.

Further the mapping could also be better on the right side since the 3 small size preview of the profile photo on the bottom right do not convey how the profile picture would look on which platform and/or which device. Thus it is difficult to understand the real world effect.

Change profile title information:

On the edit profile mode, hovering over any area in the space above the dotted line enables the user to edit the various information such as name, tagline etc.

The name and tagline are standard edits. Clicking on the edit option, enables the user to edit the easily. In the current functionality, the user is not presented with any option for the tagline and can manually key in any desired tagline.

A good value add is to provide options to user on an effective tagline. The tagline can be suggested based on internal, external factors and the user desire.

Internal Factors: Educational background of the user, the professional experience of the user, the projects, the skill sets listed by the user, certifications, interest and other user specific data elements.

External Factors: Tagline used by other professionals who have similar background, the probability of the profile being viewed based on certain words in the tagline.

User Desire: Is the user looking for a job change? Is the user looking to showcase expertise in a certain field? Does the user want to just display the job function? Different

Based on the user desire in addition to the internal and external factors, an effective tagline could be suggested to the user. The user can choose the suggested tagline or can key in a custom tagline.

Change sector:

The sector is a drop down box and is  pre-populated list. While the list is exhaustive and is a great way to convey the user domain, there should an option for the user to type in a domain or select multiple options. As an example, my domain could be at the intersection of ‘Information Technology and Services’ and ‘Computer Software’, which makes it difficult to select a specific category.

Change Previous:

Once user enters the current job, previous jobs and education, the ‘Previous’ is auto populated with the previous positions. On clicking the edit previous, the user is scrolled down to the positions entered and the user needs to remove the previous position. This feature can be changed to enable the user to select one (or) more of the previous positions. This can be a value add since the user may want to display only certain past positions in the profile titles and not all the past positions listed in the main profile.

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The inverted drop down box next to the ‘View Profile as’ presents 5 options namely ‘View recent activity’, ‘Ask to be recommended’, ‘Save to PDF’ etc. These are not directly to editing the profile and further, the inverted triangle does not provide good affordance on the actions that could be taken. So it might be a good option to remodel/ remove the inverted triangle next to ‘Save profile as’, as it could cause confusion at times.

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