is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Vice President of User Experience at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. You can reach him through one of the services below.+
The cover story for the September 2009 issue of Wired takes a look at the current state of Craigslist and the challenges it faces as it continues to evolve. In a sidebar, the magazine’s amazing art director Scott Dadich invited several designers to re-imagine and redesign Craigslist itself.
In addition to inviting contributions from SimpleScott, who was the former design director at BarackObama.com, Matt Wiley of Studio8 Design, and Luke Hayman and Lisa Strausfeld of Pentagram, Scott was kind enough to ask me for my take as well, and I leapt at the chance. I conscripted two colleagues from my design team at NYTimes.com to help me: Anh Dang who provided an invaluable sounding board for the information architecture and interaction design, and Paul Lau, who helped turn around the visual design literally over a weekend. You’ll see the mock-ups we submitted on page 104 of the magazine or, here at this link.
A magazine sidebar of course has a finite amount of space in which to show and explain the ideas that went into this design. Thankfully, someone invented blogging, which is not similarly space deprived — and so I shall now use the medium to indulge myself accordingly. Here, then, is a closer look at the mock-ups we submitted.
First, a caveat. We tried to approach this design problem pragmatically, being as realistic as we could about the design decisions we made — as realistic as one can be with only a superficial understanding of the constraints, of course. Any truly serious redesign of Craigslist would inherently look very different from what we produced, and we kept that in mind from the very beginning. And, yes we took some artistic license, too, which is why it’s probably more accurate to call this a re-imagining than a redesign.
Because we only went as far as rendering our ideas in these static comps, a lot of the functionality we had in mind could only be implied in the interfaces, and not demonstrated. So I put together a Keynote deck to walk Scott and his editors through the ins and outs of our concepts. Here they are, in smallish but I hope readable form.