Optimizing your LinkedIn Search Experience

December 2, 2008

Search is an important aspect of the LinkedIn experience and a big part of many professional’s everyday jobs. We recently launched a more streamlined design for LinkedIn Search, with the goal of helping our users, often on the run or at work, to find who they’re looking for both quickly and effectively.

While Esteban’s post from last week focused on the product upgrades within LinkedIn search, I’d like to walk you through the process of designing an improved user experience for Search.

Listening to the LinkedIn community
Prior to launch, we conducted a rigorous research and design process in order to identify customer pain points and potential opportunities for improvement. We gathered feedback from a variety of sources and at different touch points, ranging from site feedback to analyzing site data to see what users were searching for on LinkedIn.

Most importantly, we talked to different types of our users: both in individual think-aloud studies and in group forums, continually iterating based on their feedback. Given below are some of the key design improvements that resulted from those conversations:

1. Simpler and more flexible layout
Our query analysis told us that our users were typically searching by name for someone they know. Therefore, we’ve simplified our default People Search view to make it easy to skim names and pictures and see key supporting information to confirm the right selection. The blue highlights on mouse-over group the information about a person and give quick access to the available actions.

We know that there are times when you'd like to see more detailed information, so it’s now easy to switch to an expanded view, or even design a custom layout, directly from the top of the search results page. You can choose to see more, less, or different information for each result, and your view selection will be remembered the next time you visit.

2. More efficient search results
With over 32 million professionals to search through, we wanted to make it very convenient to narrow it down to the person(s) you’re looking for, or to edit your existing search without extra pages or clicks. We have surfaced the advanced search fields and sort options directly from the page and, like the results views, your sorts will be remembered next time you run a search.

Other new efficiency tools, which you can learn about in Esteban’s blog post, include type ahead short cuts to the profiles of your connections, spell check for names, saved searches, and saved search email updates.

3. More enjoyable experience
Last, but not least, we did hope to make the act of finding your peers and colleagues on LinkedIn more delightful, without compromising on functionality, simplicity, and ease of use. For example, we created a new field called “In Common”. Here we show each of the connections and groups you share with that person, in the hopes of further inspiring that “ah ha” moment, and helping each user better understand how connected we all are on LinkedIn.

As part of the Interaction Design team, our goal is to address your needs and this is a first step in optimizing your search experience on LinkedIn.

Try LinkedIn's improved People Search now

Please send us your feedback and suggestions so we can incorporate them into future design changes to the site!