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I’ll go on record as saying that there’s nothing I dislike about the new profile ‘Top Box’. Hmmm, doesn’t sound too scientific does it? Keep reading.

Warm Reception

So far the new profile design seems to have been well received by the majority of LinkedIn denizens, and I think there are multiple good reasons for this. I’ll get to those reasons in just a moment, but let’s have a look at a side by side comparison first and then I’ll list the changes. The old LinkedIn profile Top Box is on the left, new one is on the right.

8 Major Changes

(1) Bigger photograph, increased in size by approximately 20%.
(2) Extra (~100) characters for the summary, mine went from 211 to 307.
(3) Photograph moved to the left along with Name, Headline and Location.
(4) Current experience, Education, Contact info (clickable) and Network size now visible, top right.
(5) Black text is clickable, gray text is not.
(6) ‘Show more’ is now blue and larger text.
(7) Rich Media (up to 6) now visible just below truncated Summary.
(8) 10% more white space to accommodate extra sentence in Summary & Rich Media.

So those are the changes we can see and they’re obviously going to make navigation on a profile much faster and more intuitive. The days of scrolling down a LinkedIn profile to view key information are over (yay). But regular readers of this blog know I don’t just list changes; I’m always curious to understand the thinking behind things that change or impact users on LinkedIn. What’s the rationale behind this re-design of the Top Box – the most viewed, most crucial, attention-grabbing space on your LinkedIn profile? Looks like LinkedIn have doubled down on 2 major web design principles.

Above The Fold

LinkedIn moved a lot of key info to ‘Above the Fold’, the prime reading area where you’re trying to do one of two things, either (a) give the reader everything he/she needs in that space or (b) entice/interest them enough to make them want to scroll down to consume more content. So that’s good, but wait, there’s more…

Rule Of Thirds

I was intrigued to see the photograph shunted to the left of the screen and room made for 3 new links on the right, which got me thinking about segmentation and eye movement. I hit the web and did some research. Bingo! LinkedIn are using a tried and tested method of web design which leverages the way people read and absorb information/images on the screen. It’s called the ‘Rule of Thirds’. Here’s a graphic to show you how it works.

Those yellow crosses represent areas we naturally choose to focus on, it’s just how we scan, but our scanning is disproportionate, we spend more time on some areas, because we’re not robots.

And here’s a Rule of Thirds overlay on the new LinkedIn profile Top Box. The key LinkedIn information is exactly where our eyes wander and where we want to spend our limited attention span: (First) Photo and Name (41%), (Second) Summary (25%), (Third) 3 new links (20%), back to (Fourth) Summary (14%). Makes sense now. Pretty clever huh?

There was no attempt to leverage Rule of Thirds design in the old version, it was just centered, there was also no attempt to give lazy non-scrollers an alternative way to consume content that worked for them. Congrats LinkedIn, for catching on and up. Rule of Thirds has been around since the 18th century (first written about by John Thomas Smith in 1797 in relation to paintings).


Stays the same. I don’t see how LinkedIn can apply either design trick to mobile because there’s simply not enough space to play with, the text would have to be shrunk and it’s already too small. This would explain why nothing has changed on the mobile version. As good as it gets, probably, for the time being.

Header Headache

And yes, trying to make your Header (the uppermost branding area) work on both desktop and mobile is hard work, mainly because your photo is in 2 different spots, problematic if you’ve got any text or a logo you want people to see. I spent half a day fussing with mine, until I found a solution.

So now you know.

As ever, your thoughts, comments always welcome and responded to, I appreciate each and every one of you.

Insightfully yours,

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