Case Study

How LinkedIn designs products at scale

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For the designers and developers on LinkedIn’s product design teams, connecting the world’s professionals means taking on complex design challenges.

Beyond the consumer-facing LinkedIn.com most of us know, the product design team creates and maintains many enterprise products, including LinkedIn Recruiter, LinkedIn Learning, Lynda.com, Sales Navigator, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, and more.

To work more collaboratively and consistently across all products, the design team at LinkedIn relies on InVision Enterprise.

Related: Inside Design at LinkedIn

“If you think about design at scale, we want to be consistent and evolve the brand and product,” said Drew Bridewell, Lead UX Designer. “It’s really important we have transparency and the ability to all work from one source, which we get with InVision.”



A better designer-developer relationship with Inspect

At LinkedIn, developers work alongside designers and get involved in the process early. Both Drew and Senior UX Designer Ulrika Andersson say that’s crucial for creating shared vision and technical understanding of whether a design can be built.

Both use the InVision Inspect handoff tool for more efficient design-to-development workflow.

For Ulrika, Inspect saves her time creating pixel-by-pixel notes for her developers—and saves the developers from doing guesswork. She said, “When I start with a new product manager or developer, the first conversation we’ll have is: ‘Hey, are you using the Inspect tool? Because it helps us out a lot.’ ”

Drew’s teams use Inspect to pull redline specs for developers, and he continuously adds engineers to his team’s InVision Enterprise instance so they can collaborate.

“Inspect is solving a lot of our handoff issues,” he said. “It’s reducing the amount of redline specs we have to do, saving us time from a design perspective, so we’re very happy about that.”

“A sense of inclusion, collaboration, and listening are really important to me in this job. InVision helps me communicate in an effortless way.” —Ulrika Andersson, Senior UX Designer

Getting faster and more efficient with Craft

Time to market and consistency at scale are both critical in product design at large enterprises, so LinkedIn’s design team is focused on making their processes as efficient and repeatable as possible.

The team created its first design language in 2012, and revitalized the language for use with mobile platforms in 2015. The team named the new language Art Deco for the architectural style’s symbolic relationship between design and engineering.

Design Manager Jessica Clark manages the team behind the Design System Library, which houses internal design documentation to help designers and developers understand the behavior of each library component.

“The Craft data plugin is one of our designers’ favorite features.” —Jessica Clark, Design Manager

“Being able to drag and drop from a library with more than 300 components and more than 900 icons allows our designers to rapidly build and iterate on a user flow,” Jessica said. “The Craft data plugin is one of our designers’ favorite features—it accelerates the workflow by putting in data like photos, titles, company names, etc., with just one click.”

User Experience Designer Rachel Cohen helps implement the Design System library on the ground, building and sharing components through Craft to the entire design team. For Rachel, using Craft has promoted a more cohesive user experience across LinkedIn’s ecosystem.

Craft helps designers work smarter and faster together. “We’ve streamlined the speccing process by mapping the name of Craft components with the exact name that can be found in the code library,” Rachel said.

“A designer can quickly identify an Art Deco code component in their spec with one click, signaling to the developer that that element doesn’t need to be custom coded. Doing this has made the spec handoff process more efficient since designers and developers are now speaking in a common language about how to code the interface.”

“Our team reported that Craft Library increased our designers’ productivity 3x. InVision is building the tools designers need in every context. It’s just been fantastic for us.” —Drew Bridewell, Lead UX Designer

Drew agreed that Craft by InVision helps the team move faster. “Our team reported that Craft Library increased our designers’ productivity 3x,” he said. “InVision is building the tools designers need in every context. It’s just been fantastic for us.”

Transparency and collaboration with InVision Enterprise

The LinkedIn product design team uses InVision Enterprise throughout the design process. From uploading sketches to commenting, prototyping to developer handoffs—InVision helps with every step.

Easy stakeholder feedback and team collaboration initially drew Ulrika to InVision. “I wanted to do executive-level demos where I could show stakeholders what it looks and feels like when a user goes through, and that’s when I first adopted InVision,” she said. “I can also see and leave comments, and we don’t have to sit around in a meeting.”

For Drew, working as a cohesive product design team comes down to transparency. “InVision helps us to be super transparent,” he said. “That’s important to me as a designer, to be transparent with everyone from product to sales to marketing to engineering. And it’s valuable for other designers who are working on solving similar problems. They’re able to reference my process throughout their project.”

Drew and Ulrika both encourage designers, developers, product managers, and other team members at LinkedIn to adopt InVision to improve their process.

Ulrika even asks her marketing copywriters to make copy updates inside InVision, since it’s become the single source of truth for her process. At its core, InVision works the way UX designers and their product design teams work.

Said Ulrika: “A sense of inclusion, collaboration, and listening are really important to me in this job. InVision helps me communicate in an effortless way. The whole basis of UX is that when I do something, something else happens. There’s a feedback loop. And InVision allows that, and that’s all you need!”

“It’s not just the designers who benefit from InVision—it’s the entire organization. And that’s special. Ever since I’ve been using the product, it’s raised my quality bar.” —Drew Bridewell, Lead UX Designer

For Drew, one of InVision Enterprise’s early adopters, using InVision makes him and his team better collaborators, and enables them to build a better suite of products for LinkedIn.

“LinkedIn’s mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful,” Drew said. “It’s very similar to what InVision wants to do for designers and companies. It’s not just the designers who benefit from InVision—it’s the entire organization. And that’s special. Ever since I’ve been using the product, it’s raised my quality bar.”

Author

Claire Karjalainen
Claire is a content strategist at InVision. She's all about words, technology, design, dogs, Colorado sports, and the scifi/fantasy section. Say hi on Twitter!

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