Whether you’re a LinkedIn aficionado or just a casual user, you’ve most likely noticed some major changes to the business focused social network lately. LinkedIn has undergone many changes since our last review, so let’s dig in and find out what they’ve been up to.

Earlier this year in July, LinkedIn did a complete design overhaul of the familiar home page. The change, as described by Product Manager Caroline Gaffney, was intended to provide a newer, simpler, and more modern design with more relevant updates feeding a richer, cleaner stream. While the design overhaul drew mixed responses at first, the general consensus seemed to be a step in the right direction.

LinkedIn old vs. new

In August, right around the time Microsoft was migrating Hotmail users to the new, LinkedIn announced their featured partnership with Microsoft’s new app store with a new LinkedIn for Outlook app. As Product Manager David Breger writes:

“We’ve been working closely with Microsoft to make it easy for you to infuse LinkedIn goodness right into your new Outlook experience.”

If you’re an Outlook user, the app allows you to:

  • View relevant information about people you’re emailing or meeting with like their profile and photo
  • Display any updates or information shared on LinkedIn
  • Display common connections and groups
  • Provide information about the person’s company
  • Provide the ability to like or comment

As the redesigned site was rolled out globally to all users, LinkedIn made several announcements about added features like a real time notification system, an easier to use endorsement system and ability to follow people.

In September, LinkedIn announced the redesigned look and feel of the site was being baked into company pages as a way for members to get more relevant information about companies they are interested in following, and as a way for companies to better engage with their target audience. If you haven’t visited your company page in a while (or worse, haven’t created one – eek!), check out some of these companies making the most of the new layout:

So what do you think, is LinkedIn making meaningful user experience improvements to the platform, or just trying to play catch up to the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Google+. What types of features would you like to see added? Sound off in the comments below and let’s discuss.

Mike Kissel

PS – Here’s a sneak peek at member profile updates on the horizon.

images and slideshow courtesy of LinkedIn