LinkedIn‘s iPhone App is great, but I will come straight to the feature which impressed me most and that is it’s integration with native Calendar app on iPhone. When you access the menu by tapping the icon on Top-Left (Pretty common UI element these days), you see an option to view Calendar and you can see your calendar events right inside the LinkedIn App, but what makes it really interesting is you can see Photos of all the attendees of an meetings and when you select an attendee, you are taken to his LinkedIn profile. I like this feature so much that instead of opening native Calendar app on my iPhone, I just open LinkedIn and check my calendar there.
Ok so what as an App Developer we can learn from this? We learn that while creating an iPhone app we should think how we can use smart-phone features like location, calendar, contacts, camera, sensors etc. in such little but innovative ways to add value to our app. What LinkedIn has done is that it has offered its users a new facility which is not even available on its website. Mobile app should not necessarily always have lesser features than a website, sometime it can have some extra features as well like in the case of LinkedIn app, so always think how can you use various features of an smart-phone.
Ofcourse there are many other things you can learn from LinkedIn app. They have slide-from-left menu screen and then slide-from-right for setting up some preferences, then we have pull-down-to-refresh gesture, all these have become pretty standard in any good app these days. App is fast and fluid and whole UI is generally very nice.
Basically what we need to ultimately remember is not see a mobile app as just a smaller screen version of website or desktop software, so we should not just try to fit everything for small screen of phones. We need to realise that mobiles are used differently than computers and mostly at different times and situations so we should strive to give our users optimum user-experience to suit all this.
Kiran Prasad who heads the mobile development team at LinkedIn puts this very beautifully:
We’re looking at the ‘entrenched’ use case [for desktop users], the coffee-and-couch use case [for tablet users], the two-minute use case [for mobile phone users].
You can read the complete article on VentureBeat.com for more of his insight.
Hope you found my little analysis of LinkedIn app useful and use some of it when you create that next great app of yours. I am also a big fan of LinkedIn as a Software Development Company (Not just their App Development) and you can read about their ‘Continuous Deployment‘ model to know why.
Thanks for reading 🙂