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LinkedIn Groups gets (mediocre) makeover, new iOS app

Matt Kapko | Oct. 19, 2015
The redesigned LinkedIn Groups interface and new iOS app aim to bolster the service, but bringing order to the chaos of message boards is no small task and many early users aren't impressed.

linkedin logo
Credit: REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

LinkedIn Groups got a makeover this week, along with and its first-ever iOS mobile app. Some of the changes are extensions and modernizations of existing features, but other improvements could help Groups members keep the ideas and conversation flowing.

The professional social network recently made some policy changes to Groups, and it is now following up with an iOS app and new look and feel for the desktop experience. Some longtime Groups users see the redesign as a welcome change, while others are unimpressed. 

People with common interests have connected on LinkedIn Groups for more than a decade. After it launched in 2004, the feature quickly became one of the platform's most popular, fastest-growing and widely adopted offerings.

LinkedIn Groups' new features and a fresh, bright look

LinkedIn Groups members can now add images to their posts and mention other users. The company says it cut back on clutter, spam and promotional content within Groups. The navigation panel is also simpler, and LinkedIn significantly increased the amount of open space on the pages.

The design changes are among the most notable tweaks to LinkedIn Groups. "The clean layout made it easier to find the Groups I'm regularly participating in each day," says Lisa Rangel, managing director at ChameleonResumes.com and moderator of a job seeker Group with more than 450,000 members. 

The posting process on desktop remains mostly the same, but the iOS app experience improved, according to Rangel. "Information is more accessible and interacting with Group members seems easier," she says, adding that a 50-Group-per-user limit also appears to have been removed.

linkedin groups ios
Credit: LinkedIn

Pratibha Vuppuluri, founder of data analytics firm KeyInsite, says the redesigned interface is "fresh and welcoming," but he'd still like to see a more efficient process for Group members to cultivate work opportunities. Discussions are already embedded into LinkedIn Groups, but Vuppuluri says they could be more actionable and meaningful. 

"A lot of these changes are in many ways simply a next generation of functionality that already existed in some form or another, though made more intuitive for new users to help increase adoption and usage frequency," says Erik Mason, senior manager of public relations at Zerto, an enterprise disaster recovery firm. 

LinkedIn Groups' underwhelming update

Despite LinkedIn's lofty claims of major improvements and a commitment to cutting down on the amounts of spam users see in their Groups, some members still aren't impressed.

"These changes really don't offer anything major in terms of improvements beyond sharing of images," Mason says. "The promise of less spam? I can't say I've seen anything of the sort."

 

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