Better Late Than Never
Craigslist has been around for almost 20 years, and the site still looks decidedly 20th century. The interface is streamlined and simple, perhaps too streamlined and simple for the more tech savvy 21st Century web surfer.
This week Craigslist started using Craigslist (what else?) to find someone who can help them spice up the site a little bit. Specifically, it appears they are looking to incorporate social media and mobile into the site some way, although exactly how is still anyone’s guess.
Craigslist is the most popular online classified ads site on the internet boasting more than 30 billion page views every month. No doubt they have a very sound business model, but as anyone who has ever visited the site before (and there are many of us) can tell you, it looks a little bit clunky. A little dressing up would go a long way toward cementing their status as one of the most popular and useful tools on the World Wide Web.
Specifically, they should be taking advantage of every the Social Web has to offer. For instance, it would be nice if there were “share” buttons for Facebook, Google+ and Twitter which allowed users to let their network know what they were looking at (or for) and let them plumb their network for answers to questions they might have. I realize you can share with a copy&paste option now, but a one-click solution would simplify the entire process.
Or perhaps Craigslist should consider uniting their billions of active users into its own social media network of buyers and sellers.
No one can accuse Craigslist of being obsessed with change just for the sake of change (I’m talking to YOU, Mark Zuckerberg) but after two decades it sure seems like Craigslist might be due for an upgrade.
A job posting from the company — posted to Craigslist, of course — seeks a candidate to “improve the user experience — faster, friendlier and easier” and “develop new products and features that will have CL users swooning.”
To see how little Craigslist has changed over the years, check out the Wayback Machine’s archive of Craigslist in November 2000, compared with the site of today. Aside from minor changes in formatting, the new event calendar and the addition of more categories, the site looks almost exactly the same.
There’s something to be said for Craigslist’s what-you-see-is-what-you-get home page, but it could use a fresh coat of paint and a proper mobile site for smart phones. (Mobile app design is one of the job’s recommended skills.) Some personalization features would also be helpful, like a built-in alert system or a customizable home page.