LinkedIn Usability Study

Identify issues in LinkedIn's onboarding process
Usability Testing, Technical Writing


This was a project done for my HCDE coursework - usability study.

Data has indicated that LinkedIn was experiencing new user retention problem. As a UX Researcher, I along with 3 other teammates conducted usability test and made corresponding design recommendations. Based on our findings, we recommended LinkedIn to redesign the onboarding experience according to our recommendation.


UX Researcher
Designed and conducted usability study in a team of 4

Technical Writer
Generated finding report with team


How can we enhance LinkedIn's onboarding experience?


(click below to view)
Full Report
(click below to view)


Research Questions

1. Can users create accounts and profiles?
2. Can users search for and add the connections they want?
3. Can users search for the jobs they want?

Overall Approach

Drawing from a heuristic evaluation, we designed tasks around our research questions. We conducted the usability study with 5 participants. We recorded the sessions with Morae for analysis purpose.


1. Signup process is too lengthy and intrusive

More than half of the participants encountered issue with the sign-up process and asked the moderator for help. They reported that the signup process was too lengthy and intrusive, because it asked for too many personal information such as phone number, personal contacts, etc.

Design recommendation

Shorten the signup process by not asking unnecessary information - By not asking unnecessary information such as phone number, the signup process is shorten and less intrusive to the users.

2. Hidden and grayed out UI elements create confusion

Grayed out elements creates unnecessary confusion to users and may stop them from even finishing the onboarding process.

Design recommendation

we recommend avoid graying out interactive elements and let users to decide what to do. Interactive elements should also be put in expected locations.

3. Inconsistent UI and search result create confusion

Novice users (users with few connections) were shown with different UI and search results compared to experienced users (users with many connections). This created confusion to new users as it made it difficult for them to connect with people they did not directly know.

Design recommendation

Change the default setting of profile picture to “everyone”, instead of the current “my network”. Hiding the profile picture by default defeats the purpose of expanding network.


Usability Testing // Team work // Business Goals

By learning how to conduct usability testing through such hands-on process, I gained first-hand knowledge such as how to encourage participants to think aloud, how to consider business goal, etc. It was also very rewarding to work with 3 other talented fellows during this process!