CSR analysis and framing a
Sophia Eunwoo Choi
LinkedIn is the world’s largest social networking service via website and mobile app. It helps people navigate career opportunities and valuable industry connections from anywhere at anytime. Users can build a professional reputation, find a new job and share knowledge through this platform.
The objective of the project is to define LinkedIn's user experiences that fail to meet their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) at the level of social sustainability. In a team of 4 designers, we have identified the lacking user experiences of LinkedIn that contradict to their CSR, and created design solutions to the found problems.
We see users who are thriving with their careers and constantly posting. It makes you feel like you need to be like them, which can lead to stress and anxiety, and not wanting to connect. Seeking for opportunities is great, but it can seem fake and ingenuine, slowly feeling like a chore of copy/pasting your messages and hoping for the best. This contradicts LinkedIn's mission to be more productive and lead to success.
More than half of the surveyed users are not able to sustain their LinkedIn relationships that are made for personal benefits such as referrals and endorsements. Plus, endorsements are unreliable with people endorsing skills they don't have or not authentic. There needs to be a way to bring genuine connections of people on LinkedIn.
Personalized experience - Tagging people.
Personal prompts to add an intimate personality to your profile.
Categorizing the "Feature" section.
Mentors & Mentees.
The mentorship badge is a method of clear communication in between mentees and mentors that help users find people in the right position. It is an indication of people that are willing to help and learn, and being able to way find their connections in an effective and efficient way.
This is the start of creating a meaningful relationship. By finding the right people that share the same initiative as you.
User Profile Prompts
When LinkedIn profiles are all about perfection, it may seem very cold with a lack of personality. We saw the potential of the prompt feature a way to present profiles more engaging and open. The prompts are not too formal nor too casual, which makes it a good fit for LinkedIn's social environment. Users can easily approach people by either liking or responding to the prompt, which opens a comfortable setting of conversation.
Assuring credibility in user's work experiences by enabling the tagging feature. Users tag their co-workers, partners, and people that were involved in their experience to build trust in their profiles. Once accept the request, you will be tagged in the person's experience in their profile, and can endorse or give recommendations to the person.
Currently, LinkedIn's "Featured" section offers a congested UI that brings user's activity in a random orientation. This creates the problem of difficult way finding when visitors look through the profiles. We categorized the featured section for less profile confusion, and it may be categorized by posts, projects, portfolio, etc. This creates a clear and distinct communication in between the user and visitors.
We do make connections on LinkedIn, but did we really make "connections" when there is no real communication after we hit that connect button?
We came up with a design solution that when chat is not active for a certain period of time, LinkedIn sends a notification to get back on the chat to connect with the person. By stimulating users to engage in communication, users start to form certain relationships beyond being added to their connections list.
Currently, LinkedIn's celebration feature is limited and heavily individualized to user achievements. To make LinkedIn a more socially engaging environment, we thought of a way to celebrate the connections of user's network.
LinkedIn sends notifications to connected users at a certain point of their connection. Users can either message or post the celebration, which makes the connection more genuine.
How do they benefit LinkedIn?
As profiles and user activities become more credible, communities are trusted in between the users, and information are secured.
Adding personal touch to user's experience allows to create and sustain genuine relationships. This will open up many opportunities for our users.
Making an overall positive influence in building a socially sustained community architecture.
LinkedIn will be the leader in digital social product, and will gain a significant increase in user attraction.
Jump down to conclusion
As our initial approach to the project, we began by conducting a Corporate Social Responsibility review of LinkedIn to identify the company's initiatives in different sectors of impact. By understanding their responsibilities, this would give us a pathway in identifying a design opportunity space to the problem that would contradict to their mission in the platform.
We came up with a list of 6 major CSR categories from our research: Practicing responsibly, Diversity-inclusion-belonging, Environmental sustainability, Global ethics and compliance, Accessibility/educational advancement, and Disaster response.
= Our choice of focus
At LinkedIn, we believe that how we work is as important as what we do in creating economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.
Redesigning and operating sustainable and innovative office for global employees.
Reducing carbon footprint by 55% by 2030.
Conserve potable water.
Implement best practices for healthy buildings in conjunction with Well Health And Safety.
Driving to achieve Zero waste certification by 2030.
Global ethics and compliance
Offer practical guidance for compliance challenges.
Ensuring employees have an up-to-date ethical resource.
Creating a safe environment for anyone to raise concern or ask questions.
Anti-corruption, does not tolerate bribery or corruption.
LinkedIn’s Disaster Response Program aims to support humanitarian efforts in times of crisis.
Global ethics and compliance
Accessibility in our products.
Give feedback through our disability desk.
Accommodations and hiring practices.
Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging
To create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce, connects everyone at LinkedIn. As we realize diversity, inclusion, and belonging for our employees, members, and customers, we get closer to achieving that vision.
Research on Social Interaction
With our focus in the social responsibility of LinkedIn, we started our research by interviewing users from age 19 to 25, who are actively looking for employment, to listen to their views on social interaction on LinkedIn.
Users want to learn and build real connection with people. Seeking for opportunities is great, but it can seem fake and ingenuine, slowly feeling like a chore of copy/pasting your messages and hoping for the best. 63% of interviewees were disappointed to the social aspect of LinkedIn for the lack of creating human connections.
This contradicts Linkedin's mission to be more productive and lead to success.
Passive and active ways to connect: Send messages or follow individuals without connecting.
Auto-generated connection invitation: Allows people to build strong networks and access opportunities regardless of demographics.
LinkedIn learning courses: Video courses taught by industry experts to help job-seekers develop their career skills.
Lacks authenticity with little to no verification process: Endorsements are unreliable with people endorsing skills they don't have.
Lacks social functions, although it’s the core feature: Newsfeed is heavily inspired by social platforms like Facebook: While users can create and share content, the people who take the time to do this are marketers and PR professionals.
Current Business Solutions
LinkedIn makes money from five different revenue streams: talent solutions, marketing solutions, sales solutions, learning solutions & premium subscriptions. We are on a mission to find an opportunity space in one of these.
We wanted to focus on leveraging one of five Linkedin’s business solutions. The talent solution is built to attract talent and recruit candidates from the world’s largest talent pool.
Social engagement and interaction leads to valuable connections and higher chance of employment. The current Talent Solution consists of main features like job board, messaging, newsfeed, profile and company insights to both applicants and candidates.
Within this UX Audit we want to explore the two main features: Messaging and Profile.
Initial User Journey Map
Prior to defining the user pain points, we empathically simulated the current user journey of messaging, and browsing through profile and company insights.
Defining Pain Points
Difficult to find the right people
Lack of personal touch in profiles
LinkedIn doesn’t highlight or update the status of connections such as anniversaries. Simultaneously depreciating one’s network of people.
Hard to filter people in the large pool of search results. Time consuming to pick the right people to reach out while not knowing if they are willing to help / connect.
Lack of personality touch in the profile. Profile is too formal that it makes the viewer feel intimidated to reach out/connect.
Not being able to sustain a connection/ conversation after a certain point in the communication.
Pressure to be perfect
High pressure of professionalism and perfectionism. Feeling overwhelmed.
Locating Pain Points: Information Architecture
We created 2 information architectures of LinkedIn's user profile and messaging pages to be locate the found pain points.
At this point, we have gotten very close to framing our design opportunities!
Now that we have everything ready, it is time for brainstorming. This is when our creative discussions came in.
By understanding what the user pain points are, and where they are located in their journey, we defined 6 new implementable design opportunities within the current framework of LinkedIn.
Our design interventions are aided to help provide users a more socially engaging environment, while being able to fulfill the social responsibility of LinkedIn.
Refined User Journey Map
Demonstrating an ideal user journey after the implementation of the newly defined design opportunities. As we were emotionally engaged with our users, we had successfully converted the original ambiguous user journey to creating a meaningful positive user experience.
To view the prototype, please scroll back up or click the arrow.
"By making and responding to user prompts, users are able to create a playful environment in their profiles, which is a great approach to create conversations that are more human. I would very appreciate this feature on LinkedIn to rich my relationships with the people."
- Jessica B.
"As an active LinkedIn user for potential employment opportunities, the pain points and user needs identified are highly valid and up to date. Users would benefit a lot from the mentorship badge feature to find the people in the right position especially when reaching out."
- Keli H.
"Chat notification and anniversary celebration features are great to reconnect users, but I wonder how effective they would be in terms of practicality. What could be a design intervention to not let people ignore these notifications and be highly engaged?"
- Alex L.
From an observation, research, understanding, and solutioning, our team was emotionally engaged with our findings and users to maximize the design opportunity that would improve both the experience of the user and value of the service for what it can be capable of.
Moving forward with the project, we have received valuable feedback and responses from our users to aid us with our future iteration. We plan to further dive into this project in the future by looking deep into other lacking experiences that we haven't yet to uncover.