How Samsung Killed Facebook and LinkedIn…Slowly

I was just reviewing an article posted by my friend featuring interesting visualizations made in 2016. That was posted on FB (thanks Randy Bailey).

While I was looking, I was reminded to flip over to LinkedIn (while on my Samsung) to look up somebody.

Then I noticed how similar the threads look on my mobile….and I mean how wildly similar they look.

  1. Tile based visuals that sweep up and down
  2. Profile pics upper left
  3. Headline plus pic below
  4. Like, Comment, Share…in that order
  5. Comments below yet condensed

As a data and visual guy, I looked a little deeper, breaking it down to the visual elements themselves…

  1. Grey borders around the tiles
  2. White tile backgrounds
  3. Black bolded headlines in basic font
  4. The preferences for each tile in upper right (your controls on following)
  5. Swiping right and left flips through secondary applications (FB does the marketplace, events, etc…LI its messaging program etc. Even our notifications menu is in the exact same place.

Thank goodness some of the icons are different.

Then I looked at my LI thread. Ads, articles, and selfies. On Facebook…ads, artciles, and selfies. Lots of more kids, politics, and pub crawl documentation…that is for sure.

Pause. Is the reason that people are becoming more personal on LinkedIn and more professional on Facebook is simply the UI???

Is my mobile phone to blame for the merging of the content on these platforms?

User interface is an odd thing. A design is created to make our gestures and engagement familar and repetitive. In fact all design is that way. We know how certain things work based on their design…and to make sure our biases are satisfied. If the design of LI and FB on my device is virtually the same, then its on the USER to actually fight any natural bias that comes from using that design – like sharing content.

This totally does not hold up on a laptop. The UIs start to divide more based on the white space, noise, column design and more importantly functionality, since the mobile versions are lite versions of the product.

But people aren’t necessarily logging on using a laptop…are they? Recruiters sure…but we know people are social on the go…meaning they see the same thread design. Over and over.

If you notice, Insta is different, because their actual design is different (you need a photo, no link insertion) and thats okay for Team Zuck as those that are tired of FB do IG instead (or both).

I am coming to the realization that the changing of our threads is not user choice…its user bias, and potentially out of their control. The more reinforcement there is with platform design, the more it is “okay to post”.

FB is a juggernaut, and LI is chugging along post acquisition. LI just changed their UI, with many people not digging it.

Me? I think LI needs to progress fast and change its mobile UI even more so users start thinking differently about what to post. And good for them changing the UI…differentiation has to start somewhere.

In the meantime, I am not going to blame the sales person tosses up a selfie and a “hell yeah” after the big win (and thats a tame example). If I see too much, just unfollow 🙂

Cmon LinkedIn…change that mobile UI. Zuck isn’t going to move…when are you?


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