A fine mess, reconsidered
Our friend Craig Newmark and his left-brain friends designed craigslist with the aesthetic panache of a spread sheet. From that perspective it is a success that would make an accountant blush: 47 million page views monthly in the U.S. alone, and revenues of $100 million annually from a small percentage of the site’s content that is not free.
But even the most dedicated admirer can see that craigslist is a fine mess of informational spaghetti that can cause design indigestion. Wired magazine has prescribed an Extreme Makeover for craigslist and asked top designers as well as readers to give it a user-interface facelift.
You can make the argument that ugly is aesthetic if it is successful and that the craigslist look-and-feel is part of its charm.
But I’d rather not look at plumbing. Here’s my attempt to make craigslist better to use and easier on the eyes. Design is a business model.
Dale is co-founder emeritus of We Media.