Design direction and ideas for a new Craigslist

Task brief: It’s finally time to take Craigslist to this century. I have sent this request to 10 candidates all over the world. I will select one of you to be the lead designer for this renewal. Selection will be done based on 15min presentations. In the presentation, your tasks are to present the design direction and ideas for new Craigslist. Feel free to change anything else than the name.

My approach using the double diamond design process was divided into three following stages.

Stage 01 of 03: Discover / Research – insight into the problem (diverging)
Stage 02 of 03: Define / Synthesis – the area to focus upon (converging)
Stage 03 of 03: Develop / Ideation – potential solutions

 

STAGE ONE

In the first stage in order to discover the pain point and better understand the user needs. I have done an online (desktop) research and have acquitted myself with the service by surfing on Craigslist website for both desktop and mobile versions. And have Created my account, added a classified post and deactivated my account. My first findings are as following:

  • Craigslist is obviously one of the most popular websites in the world. When people want to post classifieds online, Craigslist is usually their number one choice.
  • Each month it serves millions of users who post and view classified ads on the website.
  • Ranked as the 96th most-visited website in the world by Alexa.
  • Despite the fact that Craigslist receives such a huge amount of traffic each month, it is also criticised for its design, which seems to be at least 10 years out-of-date.
  • There are no ads on the website.
  • The pages load quickly

 

Desktop experience

Furthermore, I started using the web service on a desktop computer using the Google Chrome browser. I set 3 main tasks (create an account, post a classification and deactivate an account) and documented my experiences as follows: (1) I noticed the landing page uses the geolocation to ease defining a user location. (2) There was a difference between Craigslist Finland in the Finnish language vs the English language. The Finnish language version has a wider width compared to the English one. This gives a feeling that some content is changing based on the selected language. (3) As a new user, I started creating an account, which the task takes over 4 steps to be completed. But since there is no home button nor a clear path to get back home, search and etc. the user is left alone without clear directions on what to do next. (4) After creating an account, it was time to add the first classified post, which in this case it was to add a rental property. After going through 5 different steps, filling in all the mandatory fields and clicking the publish button the service still requires more actions from the user to complete the request. It is not required to log in to add a classified post for all type of classifieds. And it is not clear which types of classifieds require the user to log in and therefore, the user needs to try out and discover at its own time. (5) As for the final task on a desktop version in order to deactivate an account a user is provided with a link to the account’s homepage and is informed about receiving the deactivation email.

 

Mobile experience

After trying out the desktop version on a Chrome browser, I then switched to the mobile version with the same browser where I experienced that
(1) The website is not responsive, but there is a separate link for a mobile version. However, when using the Finnish language the screen is not scaled into the viewport and that causes huge white space between contents. (2) By changing the language to English the screen scales up to the mobile viewport. (3) They aren’t clear guidance between mandatory and optional fields. Also, to input a price of a rental accommodation. Instead of a Numpad, the user is facing a keypad, which makes the user frustrated to change from Keypad to numerics. (4) After completing the task of adding a classified post the user tries to go back home. But, it was redirected to another place, in this case, “SF Bay Area”. In order to return back to the Finland page, the user had to go to the bottom of a long scrolling screen to find a link to Finland.

 

STAGE TWO

In this stage, I compiled all the findings as follows:

  • Consistency is a key principle in life and in design.
  • If a new user gets confused or frustrated while trying to acquaint themselves with the application, they’ll ditch it ASAP.
  • There is no navigation menu that appears consistently throughout the website.
  • Valuable screen space could be used more effectively in some areas to improve the usability of the website.
  • Unnecessary clicks are needed to do anything with an account
  • The system should always keep users informed (Nielsen, 1995).

Framed “how might we” questions as follows:

  • How might we change the layout with a modern and human-friendly design?
  • In what ways might we improve the navigation without adding a huge learning curve for the users?
  • What’s stopping us from changing the steps for adding a classified post?
  • In what ways could we make the website more usable?
  • What would happen if we apply the golden ratio in design, change the color scheme, create an iconography bank and use a serif font?

Moreover, I mapped the user journey and created the website flowchart.

 

STAGE THREE

Based on the finding from stage one and two, I then start the ideation process in order to find potential solutions. My goal was to improve the usability of Craigslist by making changes that will result in a more positive overall user experience. And, to create a design and layout that is modern and simple.


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