The professional network LinkedIn uses a number of gamification design elements. In this article we take a look at them and describe how they work and what their purpose is.
To make the professional network valuable for all members, information about each member is needed. The more a user enters, the more valuable for the overall network. When new members sign up, they tend to fill out the most basic information only, hesitating how much information shall be shared. The profile completeness bar (Figure 1) gently nudges users to reach 100% by appealing to achieve a sense of completion. Note that while it is easy to quickly increase the percentage at the beginning, reaching one hundred percent completeion requires succeedingly more effort, appealing to the fun motivator of mastering a skill.
When interviewing LinkedIn-members, most of them will tell that because of the progress bar they had filled out more information, without knowing that they “are being gamified.”
LinkedIn has introduced a new form of such a display, called profile strength. Depending on how much the circle is filled – like a cup with water – levels are assigned to it, in the example in Figure 2 it’s the level All-Star.
The reason for this visualization has to do with a disadvantage that the original form of a progress bar for the profile completeness brings. Once the bar reaches 100%, there is no need to add more information to the profile, which would make updates such as job changes, new titles, or certifications less relevant.
Even with those two gamification design elements users could still miss out other relevant information. The profile completeness and profile strength contain self-reported qualities, which need to be verified through other channels.Endorsements try to fill this gap by allowing other members – who are connected to the member in question – to report additional skills.
While not all endorsements may make sense, the overall result from the aggregated endorsements creates a relatively accurate picture of the skills and expertise of a member (Figure 4).
A profile would be worthless, if others were not seeing it. The statistics on Who’s viewed your profile give feedback on the number of views and how often a users profile has shown up in search results over the past day (Figure 5) and the past 3 days (Figure 6).
The same numbers are plotted in a diagram over the past 90 days (Figure 7). to show the trend.
A Who’s viewed your profile-dashboard also displays the last five members who have viewed the profile (Figure 8). This list is not only fulfilling the fun motivator of being the center of attention, but also encourages users to click on these other users and potentially contact or connect with them.
LinkedIn-members are not only sharing their personal and professional information, they are also encourage to share updates, such as articles, events, jobs and other information related to their professional lifes.
The updates contain feedback design elements such as likes and comments (Figure 9).
A separate visualization breaks down how many other members have viewed the update. The breakdown is done by members according to the degree of connection, displayed in Figure 10 as an example with first, second, and third degree tallying up to 202 views and 3 likes.
LinkedIn-members that a user is connected to form a user’s personal professional network. Figure 11 shows the the LinkedIn Network that a user has, including the number of (direct) connections and new members in the network from the past 3 days, based on the second and third degree connections of a user’s new (first degree) connections.
The more connections a member has, the larger the potential influence over people.
Being member of a group and posting updates and responses there can increase the potential influence over people and status as expert in a community. The number of (group) members (Figure 12) is also an indicator for the group moderator, how successful the task was that derived from the motivation of organizing groups of people.
The group contribution level (Figure 12 and Figure 13) indicates how relevant a member’s contributions to the group are and on what level the user is. Such an indicator is not catering towards competition with other members, but generally against oneself to reach a higher level (such as “Making an impact” or “Top Contributor“).
At the beginning fo 2013, LinkedIn sent out emails to its members congratulating them to being one of the top viewed profiles in the year 2012 (Figure 14). This came as a surprise for many members and was heavily discussed and distributed over social networks, which again attracted existing members to improve their own profiles, and create more updates. This also created awareness with non-members to join the professional network.