I have had a profile on LinkedIn for a couple of years now, and I am fairly familiar with the website. I will post news I want to share or will say congrats on a connection’s work anniversary from time to time. Sometimes I will even post a comment on one of my groups when an interesting link to an article is posted. But admittedly, I have not been using LinkedIn to its fullest capacity. The reason is that there have been some updates to the website that are making it more challenging to use with my screen reader. This has discouraged me from using it as much as I should. Like most social media platforms, LinkedIn has frequent updates so by the time I learn a workaround for something new, my strategy or technique no longer works. Because LinkedIn is a professional site, I find this to be even more distressing as it impacts my career and work. Additionally, I have found that LinkedIn is one of the top ways that our society connects with the workforce and as blind and visual impaired people we need to be able to have access to it.
So, I sent email messages to the help desk expressing my frustration with all of this. It was suggested that I take a look at the LinkedIn app for my smartphone. The app was designed with accessibility in mind, and I should have a better experience.
Testing the LinkedIn App
I downloaded the LinkedIn app to my iPhone and started slowly using it. I found the navigation of the app pretty easy. At the bottom near the home button, there is a list of tabs. They are “Home, My Network, Messaging, Notifications, and Me.” On the homepage, you can share and view updates. Under “My Network,” you can add new connections, look at and respond to invitations, or look at and interact with current connections. Under the “Message” tab, you can compose a new message, search for old messages, and reply to existing messages. But I was not able to find a way to delete the messages off of the screen. I didn’t see a delete or trash folder that is common in an inbox type system. Some old messages from months ago are still sitting on this page. I might have to go to the actual LinkedIn website and delete them from there instead of the app. The other two tabs are “Notifications” and “Me.” Notifications are where you can see who has viewed your profile, who has liked your posts, and who has endorsed you. Additionally, you can say congrats or happy birthday to a connection, and with a few taps, I was able to send a message. I found this much easier than navigating the website. The “Me” tab is where you can view your profile, add updates, or make other changes.
One drawback to the app is that it doesn’t allow you to engage with your groups, so you will have to download the Groups App separately for that function. Also, if you want to send an invitation from a listing of possible connections with a personal note, it does not appear that you can send it. When you tap on the person’s name that you want to send the invitation to, the invite is sent immediately. Whereas on the website you can click on the person’s name, and it will give you an option to send a message with an edit box to type a personal note.
LinkedIn Employment App
LinkedIn has also launched a job app for iOS. I have not used it so can’t make many comments on it, but according to the email they sent me, here are the features:
- Quickly search LinkedIn’s curated jobs based on title, location, or keywords
- See who you know at jobs you’re interested in
- Reach out to people who work at the companies you’re applying to and ask them to refer you
- Apply with one click right from your phone, using your LinkedIn profile
I have decided to use both the website and the app. I am glad that I learned about the app because it makes interacting with LinkedIn a lot easier. The functions that I can’t do on the app, I will have to go back to the website and conduct them there. I have also created a little cheat sheet with instructions on how to accomplish various tasks on the website. Things such as how to send a message, reply to a message, say congrats, etc. are all listed on my cheat sheet for quick reference. Hopefully not too many changes with those things will take place. I have also reached out to both sighted and visually impaired friends who are much savvier on LinkedIn to help in a pinch. They have given many words of encouragement plus troubleshooting tips and suggestions.
So, are you LinkedIn? Have you had challenges with the website? If so, what things have you done to work around them? Have you used the LinkedIn App? If so, have you found it useful? Do you like it better than the website? Share your thoughts and comments on LinkedIn in the section below.