I was given access to the LinkedIn new interface and I think the changes are less user-friendly.
I can understand why they would want to change the interface. The website looked stuffy and dated, and it wasn’t modern. The new website looks more modern, but it also looks generic like Facebook or twitter. I don’t think that having very similar interfaces help brand things for customer’s mind.
For example, when you ask someone to connect to you a pop up window comes up and obscures the next person. You are purposely slowed down in adding possible connections. That is not a useful thing. The software should never get in the way of what the user wants to do. If an option is shown, it should be actionable. You should be able to take action on it.
What also surprises me is that is slower than the old version. No doubt it is because it is probably just for a small number of users and they don’t know how to quantify the performance. However, if you show something new, it should at least has the performance of the old webpage. For many, speed is more important than appearance.
Many people work in companies or personal connections like home which are not fast. So when you have a webpage that is slow, understandably people get impatient. There are many studies that show that the faster your website is, the more likely people will stay and read it.
For this reason I have spent way more than I “need” to have a fast website. To me, I want to offer content that is accessible. So part of that is how it is written, and the other part is in how it is delivered. A slow website with the best content, won’t be read.
Will people use the new LinkedIn website? Of course, but it shows that once again when Microsoft owns something, it generally becomes less useful.