Mobile

LinkedIn's mobile profile revamp is a milestone. Now it's really serious about mobile

LinkedIn-pen
Image Credit: Sheila Scarborough, Flickr

With 43 percent of Web traffic coming from mobile devices, LinkedIn is a fan of mobile. A new look for mobile profiles is the latest proof that LinkedIn wants to look its best on mobile phones and tablets.

“It’s actually the first time that we are launching something on phone and tablet simultaneously and on mobile specifically first for our entire company, instead of desktop,” Kiran Prasad, LinkedIn’s senior director of engineering, said in an interview with VentureBeat.

A few major companies have been becoming mobile first, or saying so, anyway. Facebook’s mobile advertising provides  62 percent of the company’s $2.68 billion ad revenue. Microsoft is getting a lot more serious about mobile, and it finally introduced the Office software package for Apple’s iPad in March this year. And Twitter’s latest earnings statement shows that Twitter has been enjoying a huge increase in mobile users and mobile ad revenue. LinkedIn seems to want to follow suit.

 

The new profile of profiles is the byproduct of the collaboration between LinkedIn’s mobile team and its profile team.

“The engineers from the profile team actually did the iOS and Android development,” Prasad said. “They worked in conjunction with the mobile team to build the client-side UI (user interface), as well as the back-end services.”

Mobile-first strategy has a strong engineering backing at LinkedIn.

In fact, all engineers at LinkedIn are receiving mobile training.

“Over 50 percent of the engineers today now are mobile-trained,” said Prasad. The company is also building a mobile software-development kit for its engineers.

LinkedIn also extended its historically strong machine-learning expertise into building this new mobile app profile look.

One aspect worth pointing out is the new recommendation feature next to the profile picture on the top card. When you start looking through someone’s profile, the recommendation feature suggests content like whom you know in common, and actions like endorsing the person or giving congratulations.

The recommendation engine for those features draws on a “smart promote system” that works on applications across the company. It feeds on all your LinkedIn profile information and runs an algorithm to “figure out what is the most appropriate thing you could do or learn about that person, so you can make that next conversation easier,” Prasad said.

What’s more, the profile layout on the mobile app is optimized for each LinkedIn user. So now different people who click into one LinkedIn member’s profile will receive different recommendations and different layouts.

“Based on the degree of separation that you have with the LinkedIn member, we want to put the most relevant piece of LinkedIn information right on the top,” Aarthi Jayaram, LinkedIn’s engineering manager for mobile, told VentureBeat.


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