Although LinkedIn has been testing it for a while now and rolling out slowly to some users, the newest version of their user interface with a new navigation bar was finally announced by LinkedIn yesterday. You may recall that toward the end of 2012, LinkedIn made some changes, most of which were cosmetic - adding the black band to their navigation bar and the icons for your Inbox messages (the envelope) and notifcations (the flag), among others. But this change is even bigger.
A simplified user interface
As LinkedIn moves the "professional network" to be more in line with social networks like Facebook, adding social features such as the ability to 'like,' share, or comment on Updates, and becomes more visual, with the new Portfolio (also slowly rolling out to users), which allows the addition of multi-media elements including video to certain sections of the Profile, LinkedIn is also trying to simplify its user interface.
Below is the "old" LinkedIn navigation bar:
As you can see, the new navigation bar is much more streamlined, with only five main tabs on the left, rather than nine. The Search box has moved to the top of the page, and an additional icon has been added to the messages and notifications icons: the icon that looks like a person with the plus sign is a quick way to add new contacts to LinkedIn.
Instead of seeing your name in the top right corner, you'll now see your thumbnail image. Hover your cursor over that image and you'll find your account options, settings, and the Help center.
Change sometimes leads to confusion
But the streamlined interface may also make it a little more difficult for you to find some of the features that were easy to access with the old interface. For example, when you hovered over Companies in the old navigation bar, if you had your own Company Page for your law firm or business, you would see a direct link to your Page. Now, you'll need to choose Companies from under the Interests tab and then search for your firm to find and access your Page.
You won't find Skills or Recommendations by using the navigation bar any more - instead, you'll need to find those items on your Profile and scroll down to them to manage them or make changes.
LinkedIn has also recently updated its mobile application, so if you access LinkedIn from your smartphone or tablet, you may have noticed a new homepage and navigation, with more changes to come. To learn more about the changes to the mobile app, see this article from LinkedIn.