Every day, LinkedIn members share their insights on the topics that matter in their professional world by publishing written, long-form posts on the LinkedIn platform, encouraging high-quality engagement and commentary. Given that, how might we empower professionals to easily share and access news and knowledge – anytime, anywhere – through the richness of video?
LinkedIn Record is a venture-mode iOS app enabling creation of professionally oriented, native video content on LinkedIn through topic-driven video conversations. Influencers and editorially selected thought leaders can easily record and publish videos from anywhere, reach the right audiences, and build influence.
In the beginning, I was the sole designer on this project, leading design concepting, partnering with product management and engineering, and influencing product strategy. In early 2015, I moved into a design management role and transitioned this project to Mauroof Ahmed for design polish and implementation.
of 18- to 29-year-olds watch online video
of millenials share photos/video on social
US digital ad
market by 2018
In recent years, we've seen a proliferation of products like Hyperlapse, Periscope, YouNow, Snapchat, Vine, Instagram Stories, and Facebook Video – including some with a strong professional lens, like Gloopt. Video is the future of how people are consuming content, and the future of how people are sharing their knowledge, ideas, and world with one another. Finally, it's a big business opportunity.
At the time of our research for this project:
The market for video content is massive, and historically, LinkedIn has trailed in this area. However, no other product is as uniquely positioned as LinkedIn to deliver high-quality, professionally relevant knowledge and commentary tied to professional identity.
Today, video on LinkedIn comes from three primary sources:
In 2015, the content team at LinkedIn decided it was about time LinkedIn invested in user-generated video content, but we didn't just want to enable recording capability. We needed something uniquely suited to LinkedIn – a product that would leverage our strength–professional identity–and the engaged community that comes with that, and a platform that could leverage our Influencers and other thought leaders who love reaching and engaging with our members.
So, what if we could use video to:
Through a new mobile app, Influencers and thought leaders will be enabled to:
Videos are backed by professional identity, centered around professional topics, united by focused round-table discussion, and can stand independently in addition to being part of a thread.
Influencers and thought leaders are provided an exclusive, quick, and easy way to start professional conversations about relevant topics or respond directly to prompts created by editors and suggested by members. Record and publish videos from anywhere, reach the right audiences, and build influence.
LinkedIn members are given an exclusive opportunity to hear from thought leaders, see through their eyes, and engage directly. Editors curate the best responses to each prompt into an auto-playing playlist, so viewers can watch fast-paced video panel discussions among thought leaders around a given topic.
A standalone app allows us to move fast and give our initial target audience–LinkedIn Influencers and industry thought leaders–a lightweight, focused, and exclusive experience.
Videos will be shared in the LinkedIn feed, displayed in the "recent activity" section on publishers' profiles, and curated into video playlists for topical consumption.
It's about quality of engagement, not just view counts. We need to build video analytics to measure the right things–top videos, average time watched, and percentage watched–and capture metrics that tell us which videos people are watching and getting value out of.
After much exploration, research, and iteration, we landed a simple IA with three core tabs–a Home experience for discovering existing topics, a My Videos tab for creators to view their published videos and track engagement, and a Create flow for sparking conversation through new prompts.
After I rotated off of this project, the functionality and layout remained largely unchanged. Below is a comparison of the designs I handed off vs. the product that was launched:
In the record flow, a subtle outline coaches users on where to position the camera, tap-and-hold functionality provides stability during recording, and a three-second countdown helps users prepare for the final take.
Once recorded, videos can be previewed and published to LinkedIn along with additional text commentary. Influencers can monitor engagement–views, likes, and comments–through the My Videos tab of the Record app.
Creators can invite other Influencers and thought leaders to weigh in and share their unique perspectives.
LinkedIn members engage with video content through autoplay in the feed and on curated watch pages.
Video consumption also scales to LinkedIn.com, where editorially curated playlists are showcased on a rich, overlay on the LinkedIn feed. Members can interact through social actions–like, comment, and share–to distribute content with their networks and create viral loops. Autoplay encourages an immersive experience and increased engagement.
After launch, the app received a lot of positive press coverage, including features on TechCrunch and VentureBeat. Through behavioral data, Customer Operations feedback, surveys, and member calls, we've learned a few things:
Generally, members are interested in watching short-form videos from Influencers.
Video offers promising use cases.
Influencers asking questions does not motivate other Influencers to record video.
To move fast and create a lightweight, focused publishing experience, LinkedIn Record was launched as a standalone iOS app exclusively for Influencers and editorially selected thought leaders. Now that the concept has proven successful, the team is in the process of integrating video recording functionality into the flagship consumer app on iOS and Android, enabling the entire LinkedIn member base to record and share video.
We're also working on bringing additional functionality to members, including the ability to save videos for later, more control over auto-play, further education around unfollowing or removing video content from the LinkedIn feed, and an improved silent watch experience with captions.
Great design communicates obvious function and requires little explanation. With Record, we brought a brand new concept with complex functionality to highly engaged, extremely busy executives and industry thought leaders. We went through a ton of iteration to create a simple, intuitive experience that demanded as little energy as possible and and required little to no education around usability.
Record was an extremely interesting project to work on, given its exploratory nature. We were able to build and iterate faster, and work outside of LinkedIn's typical design guidelines and UX parameters. It was incredibly fulfilling to work on–and achieve success with–a brand new product with a lofty mission and a huge amount of flexibility.