LinkedIn Gets It Right
LinkedIn doesn’t always stack up well against Facebook or Twitter for User Experience or usability.
Recently I experienced this myself when the LinkedIn API and site GUI were updated. I maintain a web copy of my resume on the LinkedIn Box.Net gadget and suddenly the update rendered it non-functional. This was apparent to me from a brief session using debug mode in the Developer’s Tools in IE.
I also took the trouble to check the functionality with a clean cache and in another browser.
Basically, my resume was offline to someone who expected to find it there. Luckily they contacted me and I emailed them a copy. Since I only have the basic version (unpaid) of LinkedIn go figure who else did or did not want a copy of my resume and didn’t contact me after finding the Box.Net gadget down.
I was a little miffed with the situation but the Box.Net support team came through when I reported the bug and had the Development team resolve the issue within the space of less than 48 hours.
This evening I was indulging myself answering questions in the LinkedIn Answers section and saw what was actually an invitation to try out a Beta version of a neat application that connected to your LinkedIn profile and displayed the linkages on a world map. To access the data LinkedIn went through a similar workflow to Facebook Connect or Twitter’s OAuth except LinkedIn asks the user how long to remain connected between your profile and the application. The user may choose from until revoked / a month / a week / a day or obviously to cancel: not at all.
This is the crucial difference between LinkedIn and Facebook / Twitter: –
LinkedIn asks the user to either commit to permanent connection or define a countdown providing the application with a “half-life” (after which I’m reasonably sure any App Developer worth his salt will be chasing you to reconnect.)
To view/ revoke authorized application settings you need to select the Settings option from the top menu-bar
On the account page select from the lower right under Privacy Settings the Authorized Applications option
The user is presented with all the approved applications and may simply revoke authorization by selecting the relevant checkbox and hitting the remove button at the bottom of the page.
LinkedIn has made a huge effort with this to supply the user with flexibility of permission for 3rd party applications and seems to have got it right; they have shown a degree of respect to their users and at the same time understood that users don’t always remember which applications they have approved and in allowing the user to set a countdown on application access to their profile they have done something very cool: allowed the user to get on with using the webapp and not spend all their time acting as IT/ Sys Admin / Data Security for themselves.
In this specific case, there is an object lesson in User Experience and Usability here for Facebook and Twitter.