New Linkedin Equals Bad Data and Bad UX

Are you happy with LinkedIn these days? From what I see, Linkedin hasn’t made many business users happy. A barrage of user experience complaints have hit LinkedIn since it rolled out its new format, territory by territory, back in January. There are many hiccups in the new system, and it’s making people miserable.

At first, I was optimistic that the user experience complaints would put enough pressure on the LinkedIn management to make the necessary improvements and refinements to the UX. But my optimism quickly faded when the Product Director left several weeks ago for Facebook. With my frustration levels increasing, I couldn’t pinpoint why I felt so emotionally charged by the changes. Normally, I adapt to technology changes quite easily and often can see the benefit of the evolution of the UX after powering through many painful changes to the system. This time, it was different because Linkedin is being unresponsive and improvements do not appear to be in the pipeline.

Around the same time, and completely unrelated, I received an invite from a PR expert to receive tips on how to contact media. My old background in public relations made me curious on what had changed these past ten, or so years. With glee, I looked forward to updating my old knowledge.

The tips suggested subscribing to the lists on three different sites. At the first site, I spent 15 minutes just trying to figure out how to join their mailing list. I looked at the audience it was serving (journalists) and searched to execute the aforementioned tip. Alas, I realized I’d been given bad data. They did not have a email list. Next, I went to the second site optimistically thinking the first website direction must be an error. I conducted the same due diligence, and I could not find the mailing list. Again, bad data or such a horribly designed UX that the user cannot find the subscribe button. I was pretty frustrated. It was a horrible feeling. And then I realized the self-proclaimed PR expert experience was similar to my Linkedin experience over these past few months. Scrambling around for information, and following my own breadcrumbs of data that I’ve been carefully curating on LinkedIn for nearly nine years, where my own 1st, 2nd and 3rd connections would automagically come up in a search. The end result: Bad data and the feeling I have for both the PR expert and now LinkedIn is a loss of credibility.

I pay USD$200 a month for Linkedin account in order to access accurate data. Today, I have to search with fewer tools and pay the same amount each month with the added challenge of jumping through new, illogical and unnecessary hoops to perform searches. They’ve turned a streamlined system into a mess. The UX went from being a highway to a narrow, one lane, backcountry road.

No longer do we have access to the full profile or work history. You have to open up each segment role, or even worse, go back several years earlier by clicking on some more icons. The user experience is cumbersome. In a world where we need things to be faster, LinkedIn is now slower to upload, access, search and isolate data. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, as you’ll read here.

Right now there is no alternative to LinkedIn, but I would like see a leader from Microsoft/LinkedIn explain how these issues will improve and get back on track.

Caroline Stokes is an executive headhunter, uses LinkedIn at least 100 times a day, certified executive coach and certified EQ-i and EQ360 trainer for innovation leaders. Caroline also founded FORWARD, a human capital solutions company. Occasional contributor to Venturebeat, Huffington Post and The Undercover Recruiter.

Find me on LinkedIn, if you can.