Project 1

Objective
Redesign Craigslist.com to add social features and clean up the layout. The project should take the form of a traditional web site and using a non-programming environment, such as Axure to build an interactive prototype.

Path
Study craigslist.com users and learn their initial impression, feelings toward overall design, satisfaction, and requests for any new features. I wanted to achieve this goal by conducting a 2 - 5 minute online survey using Google Docs. With Jakob Nielsen's recommendation on, Why You Only Need to Test with 5 Users Open in new window, I wanted to randomly pick 5 participants after the survey for an Open Card Sorting Open in new window activity. I wanted to conduct the card sorting activity using websort.net to learn how participants grouped craigslist.com content (particularly the Jobs section) and labelled it's categories. Due to the time constraint, I wanted to mainly focus on the craigslist's Jobs section and apply what's learned here to other sections of the craigslist.com. 

Survey
15 Participants took the time to answer the following questions:

Age?
Occupation?
How often do you visit craigslist.com?
What was your first impression of craigslist.com?
Think about the last time you visited craigslist.com. What was the purpose of your visit?
Were you able to find what you were looking for?
How do you feel about the overall design of craigslist.com?
How do you feel about the quantity of ads available to you at craigslist.com?
How do you feel about the quality of ads at craigslist.com?
What would you like to see changed at craigslist.com?
Do you use any other sites like craigslist.com?



Survey Result:


Card Sort
Picked 5 users from the Survey participants to perform the open card sorting activity.

 

Card Sort final data:



Sketches
After learning from participant responses, I sketched out elements (Fig.1) that enhanced user experience of the current site. I slightly cleaned up the user interface to accommodate those who answered "Yikes!" Although the survey shows that 67% of the participants first impression of craigslist.com was "Wow!" and 33% was "Yikes!", when I asked "What would you like to see changed at craigslist.com?", most of the responses were toward a cleaner user interface with less or no span/ads. Whereas Participant 7's response was to "Enable feedback for previous posts for individuals who have purchased from a particular user in the past or have gone to seen the item but wasn't interested due to an issue that they noticed. For housing, require that an image be posted." which is inline with the objective of this project and that is to add social features to craigslist.com. I did exactly that (Fig.2) and called it "Comments", where users would be able to post comments on an item that they have seen in person or bought or simply ask for details of the product or something else. Furthermore, an alternate solution to Fig.1's tab layout would be to have a drop-down list (UI: button with an arrow pointing downward) which is what the Prototype has.
 
 

(Fig.1)
Craigslist Area All Jobs

(Fig.2)

(Fig.3)



Future direction
Obtain permissions from the owner of craigslist.com and perform additional research. Conduct usability tests of a functional prototype to determine whether the new design succeeds the old from all angles, such as information finability (don't think this is a word...but I like it), efficiency, simlicity, etc...

References
Nielsen, Jakob. "Card Sorting: How Many Users to Test (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)." Useit.com: Jakob Nielsen on Usability and
           Web Design. Useit, 19 July 2004. Web. 15 July 2011. <http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20040719.html>.

Spencer, Donna, and Todd Warfel. "Card Sorting: a Definitive Guide." Boxes and Arrows: The Design behind the Design. Boxes and
           Arrows, 07 Apr. 2004. Web. 15 July 2011. <http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/card_sorting_a_definitive_guide>.

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