Linkedin's HTML5 Webapp Is A Disappointment

LinkedIn Recent Updates

Until recently LinkedIn, the social network for business professionals, had a basic but usable mobile web site at m.linkedin.com. It worked with most mobile browsers and let you build and manage your network of contacts, search the LinkedIn user base to find prospects, jobs and employees and send LinkedIn invites.

Recently LinkedIn's mobile webapp was updated. According to an interview on VentureBeat, the new one makes extensive use of HTML5 and node.js and shares much of its code with Linkedin's Android and iOS apps, which were also updated. In a blog post, LinkedIn's Kiran Prasad mentions that the new webapp is intended for iPhones and Android devices

I was curious to see how this worked so I headed to touch.linkedin.com, which is LinkedIn's new mobile home on the web. I don't have an iPhone but I do have a couple of rather dated Android devices:

  • HTC Magic - Android 2.1 browser - I was able to log in and load the new webapp. It looks nice (image above) but all I could do was scroll through a list of my connection's latest updates (mostly sourced from their Twitter feeds). The search and post buttons and the menu dropdown were  all non-functional.
  • Motorola i1 - Android 1.5 browser - gets stuck at an attactive splash screen displaying the LinkedIn logo and an endless loading animation (image below).

LinkedIn Splash Screen

Aparently the new webap either only supports the latest iOS and Android browsers or is broken outright.

But what about the old m.linkedin.com mobile site? Surely you can still use it with browsers that the new one doesn't support. Unfortunately you can't.  The old site is gone now and the URL redirects mobile browsers to either the new touch site or to LinkedIn's desktop site.

I tried going to m.linkedin.com with my motley collection of not quite mainstream mobile browsers with the following results:

  • Nokia N8 pre-Anna WebKit based browser - redirects to the touch site which displays a gray screen with a black square in the middle that doesn't respond to any amount of tapping.
  • Opera Mini 6.1 - m.linkedin.com and touch.linkedin.com both redirect to the LinkedIn desktop site where the login form's submit button is non-functional.
  • Opera Mobile 11.1 - also redirected to the desktop site, but at least the login worked and the site was usable, if not particularly mobile friendly.
  • Samsung Wave 5800 bada device with WebKit based bada Dolfin browser - redirects to the touch site which hangs on the splash screen.
  • WebOS (RIP) 1.4.5.1 WebKit based browser - same as bada, redirects to the new touch site which gets stuck on the splash screen.

So it looks like LinkedIn has built a webapp that only works with a subset of devices that can also run the LinkedIn Android and iOS native apps. That doesn't seem to add much value or to be the best use of the web, which with a bit of effort has the potential to work with all browsers.

While I think it's great that LinkedIn is willing to experiment with the latest cutting edge mobile web technologies, this redesign leaves behind millions of LinkedIn users who do not have a supported  phone. I'm disappointed that LinkedIn didn't at least maintain the legacy mobile site as a fall back for users whose browsers the new one doesn't support.

15 thoughts on “Linkedin's HTML5 Webapp Is A Disappointment

  1. I've got one word for this: stupid. And I was Beginning to think there was something wrong with my phone. It's not the most cutting edge phone there is so I was hoping they still have a usable mobile website. None!
  2. Well, I found a stupid workaround; if you select the "Like", it takes you to the regular LinkedIn site instead of Touch; caveat "sometimes"! Again, this is stupid! I imagine LinkedIn forgot to "link" this to Touch!
  3. Speedy, I agree, it's absolutely useless now. I even have a £65 a month premium account and EVERY time I click a post from a LinkedIn group bulletin on my iPhone, it forces me to login, then fails to take me to the post. So now that I've just logged in, I go back to the email, click the link, and AGAIN it forces me to log in again, and again just takes me to the home page. Absolutely no point using it. Why can't I instruct the service to ONLY take me to the full website? This touch. mobile page has ruined the service. It is the opposite of functional and I'm really angry about it. I pay for the service, I've got important work to do on the move, but can't achieve anything. LinkedIn wake up and sort yourselves out. And whoever said the developers should be sacked is absolutely right. They've crippled the service.
  4. I loved LinkedIn, however since the iPhone app arrived, I've been thinking of trashing it!
    When I received mail updates from a group I click on the item of interest, which used to take me to the sign on screen & then directly to the article, but now it takes me to the sign on and then to the Home screen and now I have to search for the Group and then the article(which may or may not exist).  So, either I'm doing something really wrong or my settings are incorrect or if this is the way it's going to be, then I'm removing the App and use the Browser version! Well, I removed the App and it still goes to this stupid Touch.Linkedin! What do I do now!
  5. I have this stuck on splash screen issue with linkedin email links using the latest Opera Mobile 11.5.
    Its frustrating having to forward or open emails only on desktop. I don't use the android browser on default, would get multiple pop up agree screens if trying to use it for just these.
    • I have no idea what you mean by a "stuck on splash screen issue with linkedin email links" or that you have to open emails only on the desktop. If you could explain the problem with more clarity and detail I suspect your problems could be easily solved.
  6. Latest symbian belle browser on Nokia 701 also hangs as the image shows in the article. Simply no planning and QA on the part of LinkedIn software group. Deserved to be fired!
  7. This new LinkedIn mobile web site will not run on any of my QWERTY-based Symbian handsets, old or new. It exhibits a complete lack of self-respect, attention to detail and design integrity. An exceptional disaster. Does LinkedIn really seek this deeply negative reputation?
  8. It's neither html5, nor -webkit prefixes. It's half-assed developers (pardon my french).
    Same problem with twitter - on android 2.2 i got stuck on splash screen with ajax loader spinning forever.
  9. The mad rush to HTML.5 before there are enough browsers to support it is leaving 50% of the audience behind.

    It could easily be avoided. But, we'll see another 2-3 years of this kind of "who cares about older mobile devices" thought take hold. Instead of encouraging everyone to progress forward, it will reduce mobile engagement and even the perceived need for mobile engagement, biting those who alienate users today.

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