Craigslist hasn't changed much, but it is still massively successful. With millions of daily visitors, why hasn't it changed, what still works, and what can be tweaked to instantly make it better?
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A look at the current marketplace will reveal ready alternatives to Craigslist. OfferUp and Letgo provide a much cleaner experience that is significantly more optimized for mobile. The only service that comes close to Craigslist's sheer quantity of users is eBay, but that is likely due to the amount of new items sold on that platform as opposed to used goods and classifieds. Craigslist and eBay have some fundamental differences.
When it comes to classifieds, Craigslist is king. Despite an interface that has changed little in the last ten years, 11 million unique daily visitors flock to the site for the no-frills experience, to-the-point organizational structure, and multitude of listings. Craigslist is also an outlier in that it opts to operate a small team essentially at-cost in lieu of hosting ads. It is focused on the good of the consumer while outputting minimal effort.
Craigslist can streamline user experience by providing maximum resolution zoom directly from the search results.
Craigslist does not want to become more complex. This would make it less complex. Users will be able to determine relevant posts more effectively. Those browsing for entertainment purposes will have a higher value experience.
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Conduct usability testing and gather analytics to determine if the update had a positive effect. Success would be measured by a significant decrease in the use of the back button and more time spent on relevant posts.
Establish cropping guidelines for uploading photos to ensure that items are fully visible in search results. This would also be a good place for a prompt to check if the image was blurry. Craigslist is cursed with low-res images in an age where most people have smartphones. Consumers deserve better.