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Craigslist Website Redesign

UX Case Study


Which website comes to your mind first when it comes to buying/selling items,

finding a place to rent, or looking for job opportunities? 

Craigslist(stylized as 'craigslist') is a leading American classified advertisement website for those,

yet their website catches the eyes of UX designers, intriguing them to the redesign challenges.

Our UX team decided to join that challenge based on Jakob Nielsen's 10 Usability Heuristics.


Researcher, Lead UX/UI Designer


Annie Yang


2 weeks



Task Selection

Heuristic Evaluation

Design Prioritization




Desktop Website


Problem Space

According to statistical data from January 2022,

the total traffic number for craigslist is 370 million.

However, 74.5% of the traffic comes from their new mobile application,

and only 25.5% comes from the desktop website.

This is a more significant gap than their competitors, so we thought improving

their site's UX/UI design would help build more trust with users and attract new visitors.

Frame 3.png

Traffic source comparison with competitors

Task Selection

Primary Task for Page Redesign

As craigslist has a significant number of devoted sections and pages,

our team decided on choosing a primary task 'Finding a place for rent'  for the redesign project.

  1. Open the craigslist website to look for an apartment to rent

  2. Find the correct section and category 

  3. Read(check) through the listings

  4. Choose a listing and check the information details

  5. Reach out to the landlord

  6. Navigate the help page when in trouble

Steps for Finding a Place for Rent

Heuristic Evaluation

Jakob Nielsen's 10 Usability Heuristics
  1. Visibility of system status

  2. Match between system and the real world

  3. User control and freedom

  4. Consistency and standards

  5. Error prevention

  6. Recognition rather than recall

  7. Flexibility and efficiency of use

  8. Aesthetic and minimalist design

  9. Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors

  10. Help and documentation

As a method for finding usability problems in a product's user interface design,

our team evaluated each screen for the chosen task according to

Jakob Nielsen's 10 Usability Heuristics and gave a severity rating from 0 to 4.

0 indicates almost no usability issue, and 4 implies imperative to fix as soon as possible.

Design Problem 1 - 1.png
Task 1. Open craigslist website and find the right category
Violation for
#8 Aesthetic and minimalist design
|  Severity
  • Lack of hierarchy throughout the page

  • Page cluttered with too much text

  • Unnecessary or repetitive components

  • Vibrant text that is difficult to read

Design problems based on the usability heuristics

Design Prioritization

Redesign Suggestions

During and after we organized the heuristic evaluations,

we considered redesign suggestions that could solve the UI design issues of the craigslist website.

  1. Eliminate unnecessaries on the home screen

  2. Minimize the categories for the home screen

  3. Reorganize the footer

  4. Add emergency exit for the flag action

  5. Change wordings to more familiar ones

  6. Prevent error for the flag action

  7. Relocate and change icons for "Remove", "Flag"

  8. Improve the help page

  9. Improve status notice and breadcrumbs

Design Prioritization Matrix

We put the redesign suggestions together on a design prioritization matrix

to define which is the most essential that generates the greatest impact with the least effort. 

The highlighted tasks in dark purple color are the most important,

including reorganizing and removing unnecessary categories on the home screen

and changing the wordings to avoid ambiguity.

Prioritization Matrix.png

Click on the image above to enlarge


Keeping the Original Branding

When we considered redesign proposals, we made sure to keep the original branding of craigslist.

Times New Roman
Color Palette







Additional shades

  • Mostly lowercased

  • Minimal graphic components

Redesign Proposal

When we considered redesign proposals, we made sure to keep the original branding of craigslist.

  • Eliminate repetitive components

  • Minimalize the categories

  • Reorganize the footer


Next Steps

For the next steps, I would like to develop a fully-interactive prototype for all the interactions available for the chosen task. And I would like to implement a responsive design for the users who visit the craigslist website from a mobile platform.

Once those are prepared, I would be able to conduct several rounds of user testing

to confirm the impact of our redesign proposal and iterate it to improve the contents

and graphic elements further. 

Key Learnings

Through this project, I first realized the usefulness of Jakob Nielsen's

10 usability heuristics to find interface improvement opportunities for digital products.

It made me consider things that we did not pay much attention to when using the product in the natural environment.

I also learned that utilizing the design prioritization matrix as a checklist of the upcoming improvements is an essential step, especially when a designer is working within a limited time duration.

It was a great experience redesigning the digital product within the constraint of keeping the original brand identity, as we had to figure out the balance between maintaining and removing product elements.

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