The new LinkedIn homepage is all about the warm fuzzies

LinkedIn introduced small but significant changes to its homepage design Thursday, simplifying its newsfeed and highlighting some interaction features that will come to all users next year. The shifts in the design bring the connection element of the service front and center, encouraging users to build their relationships with each other over time.

The first most obvious change is the number of user views at the top of the page. It gives someone a snapshot of how many people saw the content they post. LinkedIn offered these features before, but they were buried in the righthand sidebar, out of eyesight. “We realized this was something we needed to bring front and center to the desktop,” LinkedIn VP Joff Redfern told me.

New LinkedIn homepage design

New LinkedIn homepage design

Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 2.00.10 PM

Old LinkedIn homepage design

 

LinkedIn is also doubling down on its content strategy, no doubt following behind competitors like Facebook. When there are compelling articles and posts to peruse on a social network feed, its users stick around longer. And the best way to motivate users to post is to highlight the feedback they receive when they do.

Keeping with that theme, the company has cleaned up its newsfeed. There’s less button clutter at the top, drawing users attention straight to the content.

The second change to LinkedIn’s homepage is the Keep in Touch system in the top right corner. You can quickly click through profile cards to see who has had big business changes recently, from adding new photos to switching jobs. It makes it easy for you to congratulate them or touch base in these moments, keeping the relationship strong. It’s based on LinkedIn’s Connected app, which was designed to help people stay in touch with professional contacts.

A wide range of users liked it, so LinkedIn decided to introduce it to a wider audience via the desktop app. “These two brand new modules are so important for keeping track of how you’re doing professionally that without them that stuff was harder,” Redfern said. “Now we’re giving the member that ability.”

After a Roadmap preview, Medium quietly launched its new homepage

At some point last week, Medium launched its new homepage and mobile app. It focused the homepage on tools for readers instead of writers, Medium’s previous focus. The company didn’t announce the news publicly, but tweets from Medium users complimenting the design start November 26th. Head of product marketing, Gabe Kleinman, told me we’ll continue to see new changes in the weeks ahead.

During Gigaom’s Roadmap design conference on November 19th, Medium founder Ev Williams told Gigaom founder Om Malik the redesign was coming. I’ve reached out to the company to get screenshots of the previous version as it appeared before the redesign. so as to compare them, but at the time of publishing I hadn’t heard back.

Based on a quick Google Image search, the Medium homepage before the redesign looked as follows:

Screenshot of old Medium homepage design

Screenshot of old Medium homepage design

Here’s the new take:

Screenshot of new Medium homepage design

Screenshot of new Medium homepage design

As you can see, the visual sidebar with the post writing prompt has disappeared. Instead, the majority of the homepage space is devoted to story discovery tools. As before, people can surf their home posts, composed of stories written or recommended by their Facebook or Twitter networks, and top stories, which are the most read posts on the site.

But collections, which are thematically linked posts or authors chosen by collection creators, have been buried under the “M” navigation, whereas before the link appeared on top of the homepage. The image from each story appears alongside it, with the profile picture of the person who wrote it beneath.

Medium homepage with the "M" navigation button clicked

Medium homepage with the “M” navigation button clicked

 

Without an explanation from Medium, it’s hard to know what prompted these specific changes, but at Roadmap Williams gave some ideas. He said the homepage needed to be redesigned because the old version was “terrible.” It didn’t have a specific function.

Based on the changes made, it looks like Medium decided to optimize its homepage for content discovery instead of post creation. Check out the video of Williams’ appearance below.

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