LinkedIn Design Challenge

UX  Design,  Product Design
LinkedIn is a network of over 440 million professionals. Through the power of professional networking and profile data, LinkedIn is able to connect individuals with relevant opportunities for career growth and development across numerous industries. However, sometimes when members are content in their current positions, they become dormant users and can find less use for (and choose not to spend their time on) LinkedIn.

Prompt Brief
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.

Research

I surveyed college students, ranging from undergraduate to graduate students currently enrolled in college. This helped me understand why, how, and when they used LinkedIn. Below are the survey results.
"
If it’s been like 2 months, I go on LinkedIn to see how many have viewed my profile. The only thing I do is update my profile, I don’t know what other things there are to do there.
"
— Sophomore Computer Science Major @ CMU
"
I want to see what my friends are up to because I consider they are in the same stage as me so it helps me know what I need to be doing.
"
— Junior Fashion Design Major @ Parsons
"
For me, it’s usually a round profile update, prompted by looking for a job or knowing that I’ll want to connect to a new group of people soon. OR it’s a connection binge, so I’m looking for lots of people.
"
— Graduate HCI Major @ CMU

In-depth Interviews

While college students gave valuable insights on their experience using LinkedIn, I realized most students were actually active users.

To better understand the dormant user demographic, I interviewed three Carnegie Mellon faculty members who were satisfied with their jobs and using LinkedIn on a quarterly basis. Below are some insights they told me.
"
I've been dormant for like 10 years but I've been getting recommended job emails and I access them just to see whats recommended. I also actively add new connects after attending conferences.
"
— PHD Graduate and Faculty Member @ CMU
"
The last time I was on Linkedin was this past summer. I got an email notification about a skill that was endorsed by one of our alumni. I ended up visiting all of the last year's graduates profiles to see what they were up to and endorsed some of their skills in return. 
"
— School of Design Faculty @ CMU
"
I have their app but never logged into it. (logs in) This must be their welcome back screen, I'll connect to "name", "name", "name", oh wait, did I just invite them all? F*ck!
I thought I was connecting with them, ugh! This is why I never used it in the first place.
"
— Design Professor @ CMU

Key Findings
Active vs Dormant Users

Through surveying college students, who were active users on LinkedIn, I found that this demographic was utilizing LinkedIn as a platform to achieve many tasks, such as job searching, networking, and keeping up with the industry of their interest. They were also very motivated with updating new achievements, projects, and roles to keep a steady stream of people visiting their profile.

Interviews with faculty members, who were dormant users, showed different priorities and goals that influenced their interactions with the platform. This behavior seemed to stem from the motivation to achieve a clear goal or action, rather than idle browsing. However, the general lack of activity seemed to be due to an overall unawareness of new features.

Persona based use case scenario

Claire has been teaching design at her alma mater for the past two years after working as a designer in the tech industry.

(Problem) She used to be an active member on LinkedIn as a college student, but now that she has a job, there is no motivation for her to return to the platform. 

(Design Opportunity) While she is satisfied with her current job, she is definitely still interested in what is trending in the tech industry and is curious to what her co-workers and colleagues are up to as well. 

(Entry Point) Currently, she goes on LinkedIn every now and then to followup an email notification about recommended jobs, but promptly leaves the platform after checking what was recommended.

User Flow

I started the design process by creating a flexible user flow diagram to accommodate different types of dormant users coming back to LinkedIn. What a dormant user will experience all depends on which notification catches their attention to return to the platform. 

Why Mobile?

◦ Dormant users I interviewed currently all used smartphones 

◦ Two of the dormant users even had the LinkedIn app installed, but weren't logged in

◦ "User retention begins with onboarding and should start right away. An average app loses as much as 80% of users in the first 3 days post-install.
This is the ugly truth: by not describing their features properly to a new user, most apps ignore the importance of a diligent onboarding process. If your user does not understand how to use your app, he or she will leave shortly thereafter." source

I saw these interview findings and statistics from my literature review about dormant users as an opportunity to better inform dormant users of the features available on LinkedIn's apps. However, not only going beyond that, I saw it as an opportunity to show how useful LinkedIn can be for keeping in touch with co-workers, staying updated with industry trends, and new opportunities in the industry of their interest.

Wireframe Sketches

Wireframes were made based on Claire's persona. However as seen in the user flow above, depending on different entry points, different types of dormant users will experience different flows compared to Claire's.

Directions

Highlighting the pros and cons of different directions that I took.

Low Fidelity Wireframes

Motion

Motion provides meaning and context to a two dimensional user interface. I started by adding motion to the initial wireframes to see how elements can become more responsive, intuitive, and aware of what the user is trying to achieve.
Gaging the attention of the dormant user through motion
Connection Updates
Scrolling motion: replacing top card
Connection Updates
Scrolling motion: top card vanish
Trending Articles (Pulse)
Scrolling motion: within mask
Trending Articles (Pulse)
Scrolling motion: top article vanish
Job Listings (Job Search)
Scrolling motion: within mask
Job Listings (Job Search)
Scrolling motion: moving selected job to the top
Finish Screen
Automatically redirects to Linkedin Feed
Linkedin Feed Welcome Back Card
Helping the user comeback to where they left off

High Fidelty Iteration

First take on designing the card swiping interaction with a page indicator on the bottom.

Welcome Back Experience

Keeping in mind of Claire's persona, who is coming back on LinkedIn to see recommended jobs, I aimed to design the welcome back experience to be informative, but not disruptive or constraining to the task the user is trying to achieve. This meant that information had to be engaging, personalized, and relevant to one's career while showing the right amount of information that seemed appropriate for an on-boarding experience.

In comparison to a conventional one page scroll, the quick swipe-able categories and responsive card scrolling of information seemed promising when exploring different directions with initial wireframes. The two way interaction provides the affordance to either quickly dismiss categories of information or explore deep into the breadths of information as well. 

The vertical scrolling was envisioned to feel more fluid than what it might seem like in the demonstration below. (ran into some technical difficulties)