, 2004, 2020

Is this "Modern"?
A countless number of changes have occurred in web and user experience design in the last 20+ years - but Craigslist's website interface has made minimal changes ever since release.
In most circumstances, not adapting a website's interface to 'newer designs' and current user needs can cause major usability issues or high bounce rates.
Is Craigslist different?
While learning the best practices of UX Design in Interactive Media Strategies, a group of colleagues and I conducted an in-person usability test/interview sessions to find out the case for Craigslist.
• Test Objective: How do users buy/sell items & find jobs using Craigslist?
• Research Question 1: How difficult is it for users to navigate the interface for the objective & why?
• Research Question 2: How does Craigslist's current information architecture affect users' ability to browse the website?
• Research Question 3: How 'usable' is Craigslist for new users?
Usability Test
The usability test & interview session was conducted in-person at Carol Grotnes Belk Library at Elon University.
7 participants were divided into groups according to if they had used Craigslist before or not.

Participant Demographics

User Tasks & Survey

Participants were given task scenarios and actions to complete. This measures the efficiency of navigation throughout the website. Users were given a survey to rate the difficulty of each action. The scenarios were measured for completion time and difficulty rating.
Scenario 1
Scenario 1
Scenario 2
Scenario 2
Scenario 3
Scenario 3
Scenario 4
Scenario 4
Design Discussion
1) Offer an easier and more efficient way to switch from city to city.
Switching to "nearby" cities is visible on the sidebar but to type in your own city, you must click on the city name and key it in the search bar. This is a "hidden" function that is not intuitive to users.
To view a map of the world and every major city in the U.S. there's another hidden page where you have to click on the Craigslist logo. This brings you to an "About" section of the areas available in the world.
Although most browsers can detect nearby location, it does require cookies to be enabled and is not always accurate. This is also a problem for users operating through proxies or VPN's to hide their identity and browse privately. 
2) Add more direct categories when searching for something specific rather than broad options.
When using the search bar, Craigslist will mark 30-50+ filters for categories of what your keyword could match. This algorithmic search method could be deemed inefficient by modern software developers.
3) On the homepage, allow users to be able to search for their city rather than scrolling to find it.
Scrolling through a list of cities to find one specific one is a major strain on cognitive load. This hassle can be decreased significantly if the user is able to type in their city.
Testing Limitations
• Credibility could be added to these results given there was an A/B test measuring efficiency of other local marketplace websites.
• Craigslist's mobile browser site was not tested. This test was performed strictly on web PC/Mac computers.
• Craigslist's Android and iOS mobile application was not tested.
• Participants were mostly young adults on Elon University's campus library.
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