The major relaunch of our platform in June 2011 saw standardized usability and navigation launched across the entire platform together with the “What’s new in your network” feed which has since become a core feature of XING.
Analyzing the page structure
We still saw some room for improvement with the page structure and layout in our Jobs & Careers section. There were too many pages and too many different list types, making it confusing even for XING staff to navigate their way around.
When you visited the Jobs & Careers section, the first page you saw was an overview of job recommendations both from XING and your own network laid out in the same way as the “What’s new in your network” feed.
The “my job ads” page contained both “job alerts” and “my bookmarked jobs”; a lot of space was set aside for these somewhat secondary features despite the page not providing any content to users who don’t use them.
The most important content, the job ads themselves, was hidden away at the end of the page.
Is a job just a job?
We actually had job ads appearing in four different list types, which in turn appeared in two different list designs:
- Jobs recommended by XING
- Jobs from your network (job ads recommended by contacts in the “What’s new in your network” feed)
- Latest jobs
- Job ads from your network (job ads posted by first- and second-level contacts)
This plethora of lists with various designs used on a number of different pages was confusing as well as tricky and expensive to maintain, and didn’t always immediately show relevant content to all visitors.
At the end of 2011 we decided to focus on making sure that visitors to the Jobs & Careers section were able to find what they were looking for – job ads.
We all agreed that the jobs section needed to be simplified from the ground up and no one should have to work out which list or page they need to open to find job ads.
We decided to perform a few weeks of A/B testing with a simple version of our idea on a small user group (10% of users) in order to avoid implementing changes based purely on our own opinions as to how things should look and work.
The results of our A/B testing clearly confirmed our suspicions as the user group with the new version returned a 14% higher job click rate than the remainder of our users with the old version.
We then spent the next few weeks programming our new easy-to-use Jobs & Careers section, and this was just the first step as we intend to continue working to make this section even easier to use in the future.
- Less is more.
- Less is easier to use.
- Less choice means easier decisions.
- Less is easier and not as expensive to maintain.
- Removing features is more important than adding new ones.
- Quick changes, testing and launches are the best approach.
- Incremental changes are better than major releases.
- Identify the core feature of a page, section or application and make sure it’s done properly.
- “One size fits all” is not the way forward. A standardized appearance can be achieved while still meeting the specific needs of each individual section.