Business social networking service LinkedIn has redesigned its messaging app, the company announced today. The new interface promises users an easier and more lightweight way to message their professional contacts, according to Mark Hull, director of product management at LinkedIn.
The biggest change appears to be the switch to a more chat-like approach to messaging, similar to Facebook and Google’s messaging interfaces. The company changed the design in response to member requests for a messaging app that allowed them to conduct shorter, more informal conversations than they could do with the previous interface, Hull said on the company’s official blog.
The overhaul is long overdue. LinkedIn has never been the most popular platform for messaging contacts. The cluttered interface was no more beneficial than sending a traditional e-mail, and not near as useful as a half dozen other applications that provided better messaging experiences.
“We’ve rebuilt everything from the ground up so you can expect a cleaner and more streamlined look and feel to help you start or keep a conversation going,” Hurd said. LinkedIn has also reorganized users’ messages, prioritizing the contacts they communicate with most frequently. Users will also be able to reference their previous conversations with contacts within the same conversation threads.
In keeping with LinkedIn's goal to provide a more informal chatting experience, users will be able to include stickers, emojis and GIFs into their conversations. The company said it has also improved its push and e-mail notifications to make it easier for users to manage important conversations. However, LinkedIn did not explain what specific changes it is implementing.
LinkedIn is also doing some addition through subtraction. To make the interface more lightweight, the company is moving some features. Introductions, invitations, forward a message, sent messages, the deleted messages folder, and archive a message have all been moved off-screen from the primary messaging interface.
Adding More Functionality
While the redesign should help LinkedIn bring its messaging platform up to date, the company said it was not content to stop there. It’s currently looking at developing more advanced features to provide some unique benefits that could help set LinkedIn apart from other messaging platforms.
“We’re excited about concepts like intelligent messaging assistants that can help suggest people you should message or provide you with relevant information about that person before you start a conversation. Or the possibilities with voice and video to make conversations more compelling,” according to Hurd. The company is also looking at adding other features that would be particular value-adds in a professional environment, such as making introductions or providing debriefings after a meeting, he added.
Over the next several weeks, the overhaul will be rolling out to members using the iOS and Android apps, as well as the desktop browser interface. The company said English-speaking users will see the upgrades starting today. The company will roll out upgrades in other languages in the coming weeks.