LinkedIn occupies a place in cyberspace that’s hard to describe—not unlike a black hole. There’s a lot going on, a whole heckuva lot of energy expended, and it all appears to be going in one direction. But the question we have is: Does anything happen on the other side? Do our efforts to connect with others actually pay off? Is this the place to look for your big break or the next step in your career? We’re not sure. We just know it’s lovely to look at and more than a little mysterious.
The Recapp Rating
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Let’s get this much out of the way—in terms of functionality, design and usability, the LinkedIn app does exactly what it’s supposed to do (and probably more). Its design reflects the most current iteration of whatever operating system you’re using, so no matter what, it’s a looker as much as it is a doer. Everything you need is either a swipe or a tap away, and that’s saying something since LinkedIn is trying on a lot of different hats, hoping you’ll stick around for the one that really ties the whole outfit together.
It’s an app that moves fast—dare we say, at the speed of business—and much like its web-based version, LinkedIn asks you to keep up. The design similarities with other social networks are hard to miss, the main difference being its (admittedly strange) walled garden approach. We like that you can keep tabs on all of your connections, but we wonder what it all really means. Not in an existential way, but more in an “okay, cool info, but what now?” kind of way.
We do get that this is an app meant to speak more to the professional set, so the inclusion of news and other information from businesses and groups amongst updates from your real-life, flesh-and-blood connections absolutely makes sense, especially if you’re hunting for a new job or even testing the waters to see what’s available. The feed is eerily similar in both design and function to a few other social network experiences we can think of, but reinventing the wheel isn’t really necessary. We are quite fond of LinkedIn Pulse, the separate news and information stream that you can either use on its own or within the regular LinkedIn app. There’s always plenty to read and scroll through—it just depends on whether or not that’s where you want to get your news.
We find it particularly interesting that you can very literally link in to LinkedIn with your other apps or web profiles, but there doesn’t seem to be much going the other way. If a social network like Facebook is the guy who shows up to the meeting in shorts and flip-flops and shares TMI with everyone, then LinkedIn is the guy who shows up in a three-piece suit, taking fastidious notes and reporting back to the boss with maybe a little too much zeal. We would love to see things open up a bit by letting the information flow both ways. Wouldn’t that increase your chances of connecting with the right people or businesses?
So the real question comes down to what you want from not just the app but the entire LinkedIn experience. We have to imagine that it’s a fairly niche market for those who will sit down and actively scroll through their LinkedIn feed over Facebook or Twitter. But for those of you who do choose to go to LinkedIn first, you’re getting a well-designed user experience that we think works more to augment your web usage than anything else. And that’s something it does pretty darn well.
Reviewed: Apr 24, 2014 | P.K. LassiterAlso featured on: Instagram for Windows Phone, “Google for Apps” + Other App News You Need To Know, Also featured on: Facebook Launches Alpha Test for Android Users + Other App News You Need to Know, Also featured on: The Ultimate College Survival Guide: Best Apps for College Students