Your business connections, now on your iPad
LinkedIn has long been the must-have tool for making and keeping business contacts, and the arrival and growth of iOS was inevitably going to lead to mobile meeting and greeting.
Now though, LinkedIn have taken the final step and optimised their official app for the iPad, at the same time giving the entire interface an overhaul to coincide with this new version. The original app had stuck very much to the formatted iPhone layout that was common across most networking apps.
The new interface breaks away from this almost completely, and the iPad really does make the app appealing. The homescreen is broken down into three main sections – Updates, which serves as your news hub; You, which consists of your LinkedIn profile and connections, and then an Inbox for all your communications. What’s more, each of these sections comes with a personalised icon.
Personalisation is a big part of the app, and thid is most evident in the Updates section, where you can sync your iPad calendar and connection activity to appear alongside the latest business news. Any users of Flipboard and Google Currents will feel at home here, as the interface appears to have drawn inspiration from both.
You can swipe beyond this homepage to see a host of extra interactive stories. The app’s built-in browser also allows you to view the original article at source without leaving the app. A further feature comes in the form of a reading list of the latest news stories that you can scroll through while reading another piece of news. All this functionality suggests that this app has been designed to be a newsreader, as well as a networking app that you can browse at work. This is a client to using LinkedIn on your desktop or laptop, as opposed to your out and out doorway to the service.
This is an idea that seems to gain further weight when you enter the profile section of the app, and notice that while all your information and connections can be accessed, nothing can be edited in-app; this still has to take place through your computer. It is worth noting that you can still post updates, either to your connections or groups, and view other profiles by tapping on a connection’s name or image. It’s another screen with a nice layout, with your profile image and current job position forming the header. In the white space below, all your additional information will be displayed, and you can then swipe from right to left to see a separate folder containing connection information. It’s a very clean and concise layout, and is replicated across other profiles you visit.
The final section of the menu is the Inbox, where all your messages are stored, with the latest forming the menu icon. All your received messages appear, previewed, in the left hand column, with the right hand window then displaying them in full once selected. There’s an Airmail motif that helps to bring some style to this section, but on the whole it sticks to the clean interface that runs throughout the app.
In terms of general functionality, LinkedIn also scores well, with a logo serving as your Home button wherever you are within the app. You can also find other users via the search tool.
This then, is a definite improvement on the original iPhone app, in terms of both interface and functionality, although the lack of editing does seem like a bit of an oversight given the depth that the Updates section has to offer. It seems the aim of this redesign is to make the app a direct client for when you’re at your desk, as opposed to an independent mobile version of the site.
Not what veteran users might expect, but still a very usable redesign with some great additions to the service.
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