LinkedIn is a powerful tool when it comes to networking, sharing work experience, and finding new jobs. But it seemed like the mobile app could be improved. From my experience as well as others, navigation didn’t seem ‘direct.’ Some features had to be dug out while some were placed in unnecessarily cluttering fashion.
Research: Looking for the problem
I first gathered users’ feedbacks on their experience with LinkedIn mobile app and organized them into an affinity digram. The user group that I interviewed consisted of 20 people: 8 college students (2 from each grade), 4 graduates looking for work, 6 normal 9-5 employees, and 2 employees working specifically in talent acquisition. This was to gather information from different demographics of people who use the LinkedIn mobile app.
Navigation for the LinkedIn iOS app consists of a tab bar (bottom) and navigation bar (top). The tab bar consists of 5 tabs: Home, My Network, Add a post, Notification, and Jobs. There already is a problem here. ‘Add a post’ is an action that can already be accessed by a floating button. It only takes up space and clutters the tab bar which should be saved primarily for different pages. Even in the desktop version, it is not included in the bar. In the navigation bar, there is a search, message, and a hamburger menu. The signifier for the menu is a profile which can be misrepresenting.
Research: Navigation on Other Apps
I searched for apps that have more than 5 menu/tab items and analyzed how they organized the items. I didn't consider apps with 5 or less items since they can just fit them into tab bar.
They all utilized combination of tab bar and menu tab. The menu button is often placed in the top left corner or the most right position in the tab bar. The most right position in the tab bar seemed more versatile as it is more reachable and supported option B.
Brainstorming: Ideating + Sketching
I came up with different ideas to improve the navigation layout.
I gathered navigation UI elements that were found in the current application and ordered them in the ranking of priorities provided by 20 people interviewed prior. I replaced 'add a post' with a shortcut as that was a feature that most people preferred.
Also, it did not make sense to include it in the tab when it can already be accessed through the floating tab in home page.
The 6 least prioritized elements (profile ~ settings) were to be placed into the menu item while the top 5 elements (home ~ menu) were placed in the tab bar.
The placement did not change much for 'home', 'my network', 'messaging', 'jobs', and 'notifications'. 'messaging' was kept in the top right corner as it is the most popular place for messaging button in other applications like Facebook and Instagram. Thus, it was better to keep it there rather than to move it somewhere else.
The other elements were just kept in the bar as those were the main priorities.
Visual Design: Menu Signifier
I had to choose an icon that would best represent the account menu. Option D seem to best show that this new menu holds access to not just profile but other miscellaneous items. Options A and B seemed too much of generic menu items while Option C would only signify the profile page. Option D seemed rather confusing as 'plus' sign tends to be more of an action.
Visual Design: Layout