makes it almost impossible to find your followers.

Did you think I was clickbaiting when I told you this was breathtaking? Well, I was, but that doesn’t mean it was a lie. This is a new level. In fact, I had to spend a little extra time researching this one, just to be sure I wasn’t mistaken, because it’s so unbelievably stupid that I had a hard time accepting this was really true. But it is. Oh God, it is.

If you use LinkedIn, you can probably think of a few places that a count of your followers would appear. One of them is on your home screen, on the left, where it counts how many views your profile received.

Nope. No luck there.

Another possibility is on my profile page, where my “dashboard” appears.

Nope, not there.

What about on the My Network page?

Wrong again. What could be going on here?

If you don’t already know the answer, you can stop trying to guess, because you’re going to be wrong every time. There is only one way to see your followers, and even your follower count, and calling it illogical is selling it short; it’s closer to Dadaist. Here it is.

First I go to my feed, and I click the meatballs button in the top right of any post.

Then I click “Improve my feed”, which takes me to this page. It is a list of suggested people and companies to follow. It is still not my list of followers.

As you can see, at the top, there is a count of the people you are following and then, finally, your followers. Clicking on that will take you to a similar list of followers. As far as I am aware, as of the publication of this article, that is the only way to see a list of your followers, other than a direct link.

Here is a screenshot of the only LinkedIn help page on the subject:

I have seen a lot of dumb design over the years, but this ranks near the very bottom of the heap. The sheer lack of logic, the obliviousness, and the blithe admission in their help documentation all combine to demonstrate why LinkedIn are possibly the reigning kings of shit . Even though it is obvious and intuitive to anyone with the IQ of a weevil, let me break it down into information architecture terms.

  • Followers are an attribute of a user, not a piece of content. Therefore, it is wrong to link to your followers from your content.
  • Your followers are an attribute of you. Therefore it is wrong to link from another user to your followers.
  • LinkedIn compounds these mistakes by requiring you to go through a piece of content belonging to someone else to view followers belonging to you.

Then there is the fact that “improve my feed” in no way suggests anything about seeing your followers. Your followers do not affect your feed, only those that you follow. Nobody would ever think to click this link when looking for a list of their followers.

Combine that IA insanity and crappy labeling with the fact that it is all hidden behind a mystery meat button that is located on the user’s feed, a place where ephemeral updates are located, not fixed data, and you have perfectly un-findable information.

Oh, and one more thing: your list of followers does not indicate whether those followers are your LinkedIn connections or not, requiring you to click on each of them to find out. But given the preceding tour de force of idiocy, why would I expect any such attention to detail?

Important lessons

  • Do not hide useful information, especially not behind the most improbable location you can conceive.
  • Before you waste your users’ time on interviews, maybe look at your own documentation. If you have to explain something in a help file, you probably designed it wrong.
  • If you care about user experience, LinkedIn is not the company for you.

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