Planning ahead works in Facebook, but not in LinkedIn

Chile flag on map

I have accepted a new role as Customer Experience Assistant Director – Latin America with The Principal Financial GroupĀ® that begins on March 1st, 2014.

I wanted to schedule sharing this announcement on certain social media, but to my dismay LinkedIn fails at the user experience of accomplishing this task.

When I attempted to update my LinkedIn by adding a new position, I was confronted with an error that frustrated me, “Please enter a date no later than this month.” If I do that, I won’t be sharing the information I desire. Therefore, I was forced to:

  • Choose January and misinform my network connections of the wrong start date.
  • Indicate that “I currently work here” – which isn’t true, yet.
  • Put in the description the real start date and hope my network connections read that.

Edit Profile LinkedIn

I was pleasantly surprised that Facebook handled this task in a much different manner. Rather than forcing users to misinform their followers, they actually anticipate their users to “plan ahead.” It was a delightful experience that I did not expect, since they don’t focus on job positions – or so I thought!

Facebook Job Position Interface

This is what I fully expected from LinkedIn, “I will work here in the future.” The job change won’t be published until I start work and I’m okay with that.

Why isn’t LinkedIn anticipating their user needs like Facebook?

I think there is a missed opportunity here for LinkedIn to really understand their user needs and predict how they convey information to their network connections.

What do you think?

The opposite of what users think, an example of bad form design

I was filling out an form for Iowa State University admissions to research getting an Human-computer interaction (HCI) certificate. The overall user experience was extremely frustrating from figuring out which form to fill out to actually putting my information in the form. Here is an example of that form – which ended up being the wrong form to fill out for the HCI certificate. See if you can spot the issues with this form:


In case you missed it, the red, bold asterisk (*) indicates optional fields! The total opposite of user thinking.

Take a look at the validation for this form as well:


The color red is used to indicate errors, which reinforces the fact that the asterisks are being used wrong. Also the phone number format was never revealed until after the user tries to submit.

Hopefully the ISU HCI students will see this post and make some changes to benefit the users of this system.

Do you agree? Did they do it wrong? What did they get right?

RSS just got competitive with the demise of Google Reader

Now that Google Reader is leaving us, the competition for your RSS feeds is just ramping up! This post is about my thoughts around the Google change and a request for my favorite news reader to date: Zite.

Everyone keeps wondering why Google is dropping support for reader? Any business savvy person will tell you, “There is no money in the RSS market.” Ultimately products that a company produces have to make money, right?

My observation is Google is rethinking their customer experience strategy and focusing on smarter touchpoints to drive revenue. It will be interesting to see if they come up with a way to import Reader into Google+ or just let it die entirely.

I am not going to give you another list of RSS readers to figure out, instead I wanted to ask my buddies at Zite some questions about their next strategic move and give them some advice.

  1. Does Zite store all my current linked RSS feeds? Looks like I found some answers on the official Zite blog.
  2. Will I ever be able to manage my RSS feeds within Zite?
  3. Is their a desktop version coming?
  4. If you are going to compete with other readers, you better get Buffer App integrated ASAP! Don’t make me ask again, please.

That is all I have for now. Hopefully Zite keeps serving up great content for its users and doesn’t change like Google Reader. In fact, I would pay Zite $0.99 for that!