UX Researcher | User Reseacher
Redesigned Craigslist website for a better user interface, by keeping the website identity so that it would be easier for the user to navigate and increase website traffic
Craigslist was founded in 1995 and has pioneered the way people view classified advertisements online since 1996. Although the platform still remains in the market, its website interface has not changed or improved over the years. Recently, it has been facing a decline in user and visitor numbers, as well as getting new competitors in Canada.
2 UX/UI Designer
2 Content Creator
Feb 2022 to March 2022
My Role & Responsibilities
Digital wireframes ideating
Usability studies and User interview
Coding with HTML, CSS, JS
Our team’s goal was to
1. identify usability problems; --------> So we started our process by conducting interviews and surveys
2. redesign the landing page; --------> Based on the feedback of qualitative and quantitative surveys
3. create a more functional, smoother, and stress-free user flow that provides more user trust;
4. improve the filtered listing on the house rental page.
By providing a more prevalent and smooth user flow for the user increasing their trust in the website, it is expected to gain more visits and accomplishments in the main task of the house rental section. This works for both renters and house seekers.
The redesigned Craigslist provides a better user interface to navigate the user more easily. Also, the main identity of the website is maintained in the redesigned platform.
For our primary research, our team has conducted two methods to gather more information about the user: a Google form survey (quantitative survey) and in-person 1-on-1 interviews (qualitative survey). These methods were used to understand current Craigslist users and their rental experiences on the website.
The survey included 10 questions which has given our team general insights into users’ preferences, goals and needs. We have received 34 responses. Here are a few takeaways from the result:
- 55.9% of the respondents are from the age group of 19-25
- 64.7% of them are the female
- Over 60% are full-time workers and 29.4% are students
- Only 41.2% have used a marketplace site to browse for rental listings
- 79.4% of them haven’t used Craigslist for house rental
- 50% of them prefer other marketplace platforms over Craigslist for house rental
Out of all the answers to the survey, one outstanding key finding is that approximately 50% of respondents did not prefer Craigslist because of these reasons:
Outdated and Not User-friendly Interface
Lack of Credibility
Lack of Proper Communication Channels
Better Platform Choices
Lack of Platform Compatibility
Unfamiliar with Craigslist
1-on-1 User Interviews
After getting the general statistics from our Google form survey, we conducted twelve 1-on-1 interviews with open-end questions to further understand the users’ behaviors, shared pain points, and recommendations for using Craigslist for house rental searches.
Outdated and Unappealing Interface
“I find it a bit confusing and overwhelming at first. There are too many words (and all hyperlinked). This is still like websites in the 90’s or early 2000’s.”
The user interface can be improved to a more modern and intuitive web layout design to attract the younger generation while maintaining its core functionality. The website needs to establish a standardization of visual elements which aligns with its own branding. It should also minimize the visual clutters/ noises to improve the content hierarchy overall.
Time-consuming Search Process
“So much information on the homepage. It takes time to scan the words and find the housing rental information.”
Craigslist needs to reduce the information overload and provide features to improve its efficiency by providing better content organization and feature prioritization on the landing page, as well as an easy and visually intuitive way to compare different listings so the renters do not need to navigate into and out of each listing ad. A recommendation feature is also suggested.
“Craigslist can be a starting point. Personally, I use it mostly to get a feel of something (like the price range, etc.) but I rarely do transactions via Craigslist anymore.”
Craigslist should establish a profile system equipped with users’ ratings, listing history, and reviews to ensure the users’ validity. This can help rebuild the users’ trust between the renters and listers, as well as the brand itself in general.
“It’s very hard for me to start off on this website. I need some sort of kickstart so I’ll know what I’m supposed to do.”
Craigslist should create an informational hierarchy to allow users to find the listings information much more quickly and efficiently. It should also devise a navigable and intuitive site structure by having buttons, navigation bars, slides and dropdown menus.
Incomplete Features for House Rental Ads
“I think other platforms are easier. Like Facebook, you can chat with buyers instantly, and message them. But on Craigslist, you can’t.”
Craigslist needs to provide better geotagging and mapping features. In order for users to better communicate. The website can implement a built-in messaging system to allow users privacy and directly message without using their personal emails or numbers. It can provide more channels and standardize the types of communication between the renters and listers.
Our target demographic is primarily young users or renters who are still studying, holding a college degree or fresh out of school with jobs. These users tend to be tech-savvy, affluent, and highly selective about online service platforms. Most of them also visit other classified advertisement websites, such as Kijiji, OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace. As a result, our team intends to maintain Craigslist’s minimalistic look and streamline the user flow to be much smoother within individual house rental ads.
Defining a Persona
Sally actively seeks new rental opportunities and needs to easily and quickly search for available rental options based on her needs because searching for rental listings without proper filters and hierarchy can be irritating and difficult. She does not have much time to search.
- To filter the house rental ads based on her needs
- To look for a trustworthy lister / landlord
- To schedule a house showing at the earliest possible time
- To have efficient communication with the landlord
-To find a good deal that fits her budget
- Her rental search is time sensitive as she is also busy with school
- Has doubts about the trustworthiness and reliability of the landlord
- Hates when the lister / landlord is slow to respond
- Has a hard time filtering through content due to its cluttered layout
- Encounters scams and spam
User Empathy Map
Considering the current website, we conducted an empathy map by our target user, Sally, about how she Thinks, Sees, Says, Hears, and Does. Hence, the Pain and Gain of the user in the process were found out that helped us toward the project.
User Journey Map
By experiencing the current user flow, we created a user journey map with the happy path of the journey that we are planning to provide for the user. This helped us to make the strategy clear and convergent for all team members.
Our user experienced a journey to rent a place through the Craigslist website. In this journey, how she feels in each action, improvement opportunities, and the responsible team are provided.
The current Craigslist website already has a comprehensive information architecture to start with, so for this project, our team focused on creating a more well-defined architecture and user flow on the housing experience. We rearranged all the categories by stripping away any unnecessary information and came up with five streamlined main categories: housing, jobs, services, buy & sell, and forum.
The Lo-Fi prototype is used to lay out the content and functionalities on the pages, which has considered user needs, goals, and journeys. Our team created the skeletal outline to help iterate before moving to the high-fidelity prototype. As a class project, we were asked to work on only 3 main pages that lead the user to rent a place.
After gathering feedback and finalizing the Lo-Fi Prototype, considering the original colour palette, our team moved to create the high-fidelity prototype of the website and mobile version as a responsive website on Figma. At this stage, we had a solid understanding of what we would build and what the final design should look like.
Craigslist’s current website has a lot of issues that make it difficult for users to find exactly what they are looking for, especially as we continue getting more impatient. We believed that what Craigslist was lacking primarily were efficiency and credibility. We took that into consideration and built an entirely new user interface that allows users to visit the website and effectively find what they came for.
For listers who are new to the site or have been posting but find it difficult to write a good description of their listings, we have made it easier by introducing a new approach at posting as we added a guided form to fill out. This not only makes it easier for them but also for renters as it automatically filters what you want.
As a website that is so widely known and still popular around the world, we wanted to keep its simplicity but add features that make it aesthetically pleasing and efficient. We were able to create a prototype that is modern, clean, practical and direct for users to enjoy and appreciate their visit to Craigslist.