November 16

Dear LinkedIn: UI help desperately needed

Anyone who has a LinkedIn account probably knows of the pain I’m about to describe.

The scenario

You’ve received an invitation to connect from someone who seems only vaguely familiar.

When you mouseover the person’s name on the pending invitations page, LinkedIn generates a pop-up that shows you the second-degree connections. In this example, there are 19.

LinkedIn Invitation
Figure 1. LinkedIn Invitation To Connect; 19 connections


This visual reminder may be enough to trigger your memory. So you click “Connect”  and prepare to move on to the next invitation.

But LinkedIn will not connect you.

It wanted you to select “Accept” from a drop down  menu,  a drop down that is not only relatively useless, it is invisible because this invitation was the first on the list. The popup covers the “Accept” option.

You’re presented with this:

LinkedIn Invitation
Figure 2: LinkedIn treats your request as unsolicited.


This isn’t the only time that LI surprises.

Sometimes there is only one connection shown or maybe there are none. If you select “View Profile” in that circumstance, you are again in for a rude surprise if you decide to then accept the invitation.

LinkedIn Invitation
Figure 3. LinkedIn Invitation with no connections visible.


Even though there are no shared connections, you can tell from the job title or description that you might have met this person. So you click “View Profile.” At this point, LinkedIn replaces your InBox page of invitations with that person’s profile.

LinkedIn Profile
Figure 4: The top of a LinkedIn profile


Ah, you think. I do know this person! I met him at <blank> conference.

So you now click “Connect” — after all, you’re responding to his invitation. LinkedIn knows this; it just sent you to his profile page from his invitation to connect. 

But LinkedIn’s website is stupid.

It doesn’t acknowledge that your click originated from an invitation, so it assumes you are the initiator.

LinkedIn Invitation
Figure 5: LinkedIn treats your request as unsolicited.

The solution

This is an easy-to-solve UI/UX problem.

For scenario 1:simply make the choices on the popup reflect the state: change the “Connect” button to “Accept.”

Edited LinkedIn Invitation
Figure 6: Change the “Connect” button to an “Accept” button, which accurately reflects the state: responding to an invitation to connect.


For scenario 2: when the referrer to a profile comes from an invitation to connect, pass that information to the webpage and change the response options on the profile page. Again, change the “Connect” button to “Accept.”

Revised LinkedIn Profile
Figure 7: Change the “Connect” button to an “Accept” button, which accurately reflects the relationship between the two profiles.



To summarize, the LinkedIn website needs to do a better job of tracking the relationship between someone who has sent an invitation to connect and someone who has received said invitation.

Specifically, change the popup associated with the pending invitations: remove any reference to “connect” and replace it with “accept”.

This should be relatively straight forward to code: LinkedIn knows the relationship. However, it will not be enough to code this so that any request originating on the pending invitations page reflects this change. That’s because LinkedIn also includes recommendations (People you may know…) on the page.

This is an experiment in “just write it now, it will be good enough” UI critiques. Cross-posted from WiredPen. Time start-to-finish: 61 minutes.

Tags: ,

Posted 16 November 2013 by Kathy Gill in category "Navigation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *