How do you make the world's largest professional social media platform even larger? Just make it simpler.
That's the word from Caroline Gaffney, Product Manager at LinkedIn, who recently announced a series of changes to the LinkedIn homepage with the goal of making the site easier to access and easier to use.
As it stands, LinkedIn has over 175 million users worldwide and over 7 million in Africa alone, and it is hoped that these changes will not only attract new users, but also increase time spent on the site by current users.
The most noticeable change is to the Menu Bar, which is not only easier to read on a new darker background, but now remains at the top of the page as users scroll down, allowing for the creation of on-the-fly messages. In a bid to create more connections between its users and allow them to increase the size of their personal professional network, the site has integrated an additional 'message or connect' functionality into its existing People you may know service; and to enable a greater degree of news and information sharing, the news aggregator, LinkedIn Today, has been revamped to incorporate larger images at the top of the news feed to draw user attention to the most popular stories of the day. Users are also now able to like, comment and share these articles.
Perhaps most significantly, LinkedIn is watching the development of its mobile applications very closely, using the learnings from this fast-growing sector to ensure that the website evolves at the same pace as its audience.
"One of the key takeaways was the simpler we can make our products, the more intuitive we can make our products, similar to what the team did in mobile, the more value we can unlock," says Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn.
LinkedIn product manager Caroline Gaffney concludes that the site will continue to evolve: "This is just the beginning of many more exciting, new features we plan to bring to the Homepage to offer more customisation and functionality this year. We look forward to making the LinkedIn Homepage your go-to destination to discover and discuss what matters to you, your industry and your professional network around the world."