In Part 1 of my 2019 UX Trends series, I listed “the twilight of mobile first” as #22. One of the reasons for the failure of mobile first as an ideology is that companies just aren’t good at it. Sure, the smartphone itself is fundamentally a badly designed tool, but even within its considerable limitations, more could be done.
A common problem with mobile user experience is that it is often a neutered, dumbed-down version of the desktop experience. While I tend to look for sinister motives in this trend, in the case of LinkedIn, I think we can all agree it’s just good old-fashioned incompetence. Let’s take a look at one more way that LinkedIn screws the pooch.
When you send an add request on the LinkedIn desktop site, it gives you a prompt before it sends, asking if you’d like to add a note with your request so the recipient knows who you are and why you are adding them. It just makes sense.
Unfortunately, LinkedIn missed the memo that people use their phones a lot. When you send an add request on the mobile app, it immediately sends it with no option to add a note.
Imagine if you had been accustomed to using the desktop site and you expected a similar prompt to add a note to your request. It would be too late at this point to do anything about it. If you had intended to send a longer note with the request and wanted it to arrive at the same time, you’re SOL, because you sure aren’t going to type it out fast on a clunky mobile keyboard.
LinkedIn themselves admit that users are more likely to accept a request if it comes with a note, which makes this omission all the more inexcusable.
- Don’t remove desktop functionality on mobile.
- Make the same functionality available across all platforms; the experience should be continuous, not siloed.
- Always let users send introductory notes with add requests on communications platforms, especially if the visibility of standard messages is dependent upon the two parties being connected.
Thanks to reader Jim Schibler for finding this UX blunder.
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