Tuesday January 31, 2006

The Case of The Lying Link.

So I was on Linkedin tonight, accepting an invitation from a new contact, and noticed some outdated information in my own profile. Well, being the responsible contact that I am, I couldn’t very well leave the page without correcting these deficiencies.

The Crime

Before we continue, let’s do a little exercise, shall we? Say you’d like to edit the information under my name there: “Designer, Dallas/Fort Worth Area, Internet.” Where would you click to edit that information?

Image: Linkedin Profile

Unless you guessed at where I was going with this, chances are you answered wrong. I myself chose Link A several times, each time concluding that I must be crazy because the info I needed to edit just wasn’t there. Giving up, I went to Link B to add some summary info and bring my profile into a higher state of “completedness.” Lo and behold, what did I find upon clicking this distanced link? Yep. The information at the top of my profile that I couldn’t find before.

The Evidence

There are two things wrong here: language and placement. The language of the “Add Summary” link clearly does not encompass all of its functions (it does way more than edit the summary), and its placement does not properly convey which area(s) of the profile it edits. The “Edit” button, on the other hand, is adequately labeled, but its placement suggests that it can do more than it really does (the only info it edits, that shows up on the Profile, is my name).

Below is one of (I’m sure) several quick fixes that could clear up the confusion for Linkedin noobs like me:

Image: Linkedin Profile

A simple divider and link should do it. Even if the new “Edit” link and the “Add Summary” link are redundant, it still does a much better job of explaining the interface.

The Verdict

Always make sure that links and buttons use clear language and are placed in a manner that clearly communicates their purpose. Mislabeling and misplacing buttons and links can lead to a frustrating web experience.

And, yes: I am sending a link to this article to the nice folks at Linkedin. Despite this little “gotcha!”, the service has been great.


Garrett » 5709 days ago #

I refuse to accept this drivel. You need to cease and desist with such usability nonsense and return to your regularly scheduled stories of taming fires, communicating with the dead, and lovely people who are willing to share trunk-rattling bass from their automobile.

Jared Christensen » 5709 days ago #

That comment is totally unusable. OH SNAP.

Erik Mallinson » 5707 days ago #


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