LinkedIn Guest Experience
LinkedIn's guest (logged out) experience is how many new users discover LinkedIn, long-lost colleagues, and even apply for jobs.
With over 150 million monthly users, The guest experience is LinkedIn's growth superpower. My team of 2 other designers and I worked on the entire guest experience, from LinkedIn's homepage, searching, viewing companies, and applying to jobs. While I was heavily involved in the strategy, flow, and visual design across the ecosystem, I owned the IA, the end-to-end searching experience, and the creation of page templates.
In 3 months, LinkedIn would launch a $20 million marketing campaign, and it would send guests to a broken experience.
The guest experience was siloed, inconsistent, dated, and filled with join-walls. This made it confusing, impossible to navigate, and caused most guests to quickly bounce right back to their google search. Not only is this a bad experience for the guest, but it also sends a negative signal to Google search, hurting LinkedIn's ranking.
A useful, engaging experience will help guests be productive on LinkedIn, while also benefitting Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
With an ambitious deadline, we set ambitious goals. One of our main business goals was to increase the number of "good visits," or users that stay on a LinkedIn guest page for longer than 35 seconds. This sends a positive signal to Google, who will in turn rank LinkedIn higher in its results. If you want to understand more about SEO and how it relates to this project, reach out and let's chat!
The old experience's IA was full of dead ends, which blocked discovery, causing guests to go back to Google.
I reimagined the IA to be simpler, without dead ends, and without unnecessary "homepages."
Search would be key in unifying the guest experience, but it was fragmented, undiscoverable, and inconsistent.
A unified, discoverable search experience would help guests find what they're looking for, as well has help them discover what LinkedIn has to offer.
While a global search that allows for any query is ideal, technical limitations made it impractical.
I worked on an "ideal" design, while simultaneously working on an interim, technically feasible design for the short-term. Below are just a few iterations on the interim design, which involved having the guest choose a type of search before performing it.
3 months, countless prototypes, and many usability tests later, we launched the new, search-centered guest experience.
Below is the interim design, and what is live today, while we work on implementing the "ideal" design. Curious about it? Let's chat!
We listened for feedback and made adjustments.
While I simultaneously worked on search, we began reimagining the rest of the guest experience.
We established principles to keep the team aligned, make decisions, and communicate those decisions with our partner teams.
With our principles to guide us, we set out to create a consistent, scalable ecosystem of page templates and components.
Since the guest experience is not part of the internal LinkedIn ecosystem, and built on a separate tech stack, we were given license to explore outside of LinkedIn's usual visual design language. This meant we could experiment with color, whitespace, typography, and make our own components.
I'm in the process of working with the design systems team and engineering to create template documentation and a component library. More coming soon!
The results are promising.
We're seeing a +2.7% lift in good visits (that's a higher number than it sounds!), meaning more people are finding value on LinkedIn.
In one quarter, we designed the base of an ecosystem, ultimately shipping the homepage, Job search, People search, and Job Detail. Behind the scenes, we created 3 page templates, and dozens of components. Stay tuned for all new guest global search, company page, profile, and LinkedIn Learning.
Go see it for yourself! Log out of LinkedIn, or open an incognito browser window, and go to linkedin.com.
I wish you a good visit!