Craigslist website redesign
Craigslist is an American classified advertisements website with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, items wanted, services, community, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums.
The first time I visited CL was a big surprise for me. I couldn’t stop wondering how a site so widely used hasn’t had any major aesthetic updates. While I was keep browsing though, I started realizing how user-friendly the environment was. I managed to execute easily the tasks I wanted, like searching for products, creating an account, etc.
After a little research, I found out that CL on purpose hasn’t had any updates. The thought in a few words was that users are deeply habitual so when companies redesign their websites, users often get confused and frustrated.
Next thought in my mind was: “But what about new users? Especially young new users?”. I can imagine my mother using a website like CL and be happy with it but I can not imagine my 19-year-old cousin using it with pleasure.
So, I arranged a meeting with him and asked him to visit CL and share his thoughts with me.
When he entered the page, which was fully loaded, he didn’t realize that it was loaded. He felt that “stuff is missing” as he told me.
After reassuring him that the page is fully loaded he started browsing. Although he could find easily whatever he was looking for, he didn’t like the environment. He told me that it feels very old and depressing. He won’t use again this website.
I found the idea of redesigning CL, in a way that both old and new users won’t get confused and feel uncomfortable, very challenging.
That was my goal. To create a new and updated redesign of the desktop version of the CL website.
For my research I used The Research Learning Spiral (RLS) process which consists of five-steps:
1. Determine objectives
2. Define hypothesis
3. Select and prepare for methods
4. Conduct research
5. Synthesise findings
RLS helped me to gain insight into the lives of users, their needs and wants. This let me design more effective and tailored solutions.
The first step is about determining what I wish to know and why. The answers to the following questions defined my research objectives.
Who will use the website?
People of all age ranges who are looking for classified advertisements or want to post their advertisements.
What kind of tasks and goals will users accomplish using the website?
They will search for something and they will post ads for something. They can also find forum discussions and gigs.
When will users be engaging with the website?
Where will users use the website?
Why would users use this website redesign?
The new design should be more attractive and efficient. The focus is the new and potentially young users. At the same time, it should be effortless to adapt to existing users and, ideally, make it feel like an overall improvement.
How will users accomplish their goals?
They can find what they are looking for by searching with effective filters and posting ads via their account.
I hypothesize that in order to improve Craigslist’s UX/UI a modernized environment is required (design- and functionality- wise).
It should be attractive to new, potentially young, users. The new design should not confuse existing users.
I used user interviews method. I prepared a questionnaire and I discussed with users.
2. Current job
3. How often do you use CL?
4. What difficulties do you face when you are using CL?
5. What would you like to change on CL?
6. What do you really like on CL?
7. Do you feel safe when using CL?
Users want a simple, handy, and modern environment, without big changes. They would like to browse with as less clicks as possible and feel safe when they buy and sell products.
From the user interviews, I was able to develop personas and user stories based on the pain and satisfaction points expressed.
Personas are representations of clusters of users with similar needs, goals, and behaviors. Their role was to guide my design decisions and priorities.
Next step was to create user stories and identify realistic goals users will have when working on the website.
- As a user, I would like a more modern design.
- As a user, I would like to be able to rate users.
- As a user, I would like to be able to see ratings of users.
- As a user, I would like not to change page in every click.
- As a user, I would like a more minimal environment.
- As a user, I would like to have a header.
- As a user, I would like to see easier my new messages.
- As a user, I don’t like big changes.
The first thing I did was to create a new, more minimal environment that is at the same time much similar to the existing one. That will help old users to use the redesigned website with no frustrations and it will be more attractive to new ones. I added a header that appears consistently throughout the website. This way, users do not have to hit the back button every time they want to go to another section of the website. I chose also to add a footer with all the information that previously was on the left side of the screen. That creates a cleaner and clearer environment.
In CL in order to sign in/up users use a link which transfers them to a new page with nothing on it except from the needed form. I thought that it’s unnecessary, as it can be done easier by using a floating box.
A small icon on the header gives access to user’s account, saved searches and signing out option.
I added a message icon to the header in order users to respond quickly and easily to inquiries.
Details of products are displayed on the right, keeping the results in view. That makes browsing much faster. Many users complained that they don not feel safe in CL. I thought that if users were rated that could change. Users will feel safe to contact another user with good ratings.
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