Researching User Experience with Craigslist

Understanding user experience with

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Background is an advertisement website in the U.S. It is a classified advertisements website with sections devoted to jobs, housing, for sale, items wanted, services, community service, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums.


Although Craigslist is widely used (traffic: 318 Million/month), its website design still has a lot of room to improve. This project aims to understand user experience with and propose actionable insights to improve the design of the Craigslist website.


This project utilized a set of research methods, such as heuristic evaluation, competitive analysis, and usability testing to investigate the usability issues of and propose recommendations.

Research methods

  • Heuristic evaluation

  • Competitive analysis

  • Usability testing

My Role

  • Led and conducted the whole project as the team leader

  • Research plan creation

  • Data collection

  • Participants recruitment

  • Data analysis

  • Report writing


  • Overall: 7 weeks


  • 4 UX researchers

My Research Process

Heuristic evaluation

We evaluated the Craigslist website using Jakob Nielsen's 10 Heuristics to discover key usability issues, including positives and negatives

Timeline: 2 weeks

Key takeaways:

  • Make use of icons to enhance recognition

  • Make use of dropdown menus to reduce clutter on the homepage

  • Introduce dedicated buttons for unflagging and for going back to previous pages. relies on the browser's "back" button

  • Provide more error messages

  • Offer suggestions to correct typos

Competitive analysis

We took a competitive analysis of Craigslist’s competitors and influencers. We listed four influencers and their inspirations for Craigslist. We made recommendations to Craigslist based on the findings

Time: 2 weeks

Key takeaways: Craigslist has advantages over its direct competitors in terms of its business scale, reputation, and ease of use, but it could be better if it improves its UI design and adds functions like a rating system, online payment option, social interaction

Usability testing

To evaluate user experience with Craigslist and identify improvement opportunities for the redesign

Time: 3 weeks

Key takeaways:

  • Homepage interface: make use of icons to reduce clutter on the homepage; use dropdown menus and reduce redundant information; use different background sizes of the font to emphasize “posting” link

  • Navigation interface: Build a better searching system to make sure the results are relevant to the keyword; Redesign the navigation bar at the bottom of each page to clearly show the page number and how many pages there totally are

  • Information verification: Provide verification of products before it is posted to the public; Locate users after getting users’ agreement; Introduce a rating system for sellers that can be viewed by all consumers

  • Private message system: Provide users with better communication by adding a private message system, so that consumers and sellers can communicate directly and securely

  • Filling in guidance: Give instructions on what parts are necessary or unnecessary to fill in; Give instructions or hints about how to fill in each textbox

Thank you for reading my project!

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