This is what happens when you ignore user experience design

Wired have published the results of an extreme makeover design-off between NYTimes, SimpleScott, Studio8 Design and Pentagram. All were asked to redesign the craigslist homepage (it’s currently a awful dog’s breakfast, but they aren’t interested in redesigning it – gawd knows why not!).

The good, the OK and the shocking
So the results of the design-off are more than a little interesting. The redesign by NYTimes and Studio8 Design show real thought and consideration for users has gone into the design. SimpleScott’s redesign is a good improvement, but lacks the sophistication of the others. Pentagram’s on the other hand made my jaw drop. This is their redesign.

Image from

Where's the...
This is what happens when graphic design dominates the user experience. The redesign looks nice, but it’s far from usable! Where’s the hierarchy (of information and visual elements)? Where’s the information scent? Where’s the interaction design, for Pete’s sake! Pentagram said they "decided to do something about the cult of Craig". Why?

Don't ignore user experience
This design perfectly demonstrates the importance of user experience design. Pentagram’s design shows the end result when the information architecture, user research, interaction design, usability aspects of user experience design are ignored. This is like design101 to me. I thought everybody "got" this.

Big hit tip, gold star and employee of the month award for my esteemed colleague @kalsop who passed Wired's article on to me. Thanks @kalsop!

About Suze Ingram

I'm a User Experience consultant from Sydney, Australia. I'm passionate about designing better user experiences that engage customers, empower employees and bring real benefits for businesses. If you'd like to get in touch, drop me a line at

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mattbalara said...


I agree with you of course, but I'd also suggest that you're maybe taking this a wee bit too seriously. If this design went online last week, your outrage might be appropriate. But for a fluff piece for Wired? I reckon Pentagram just decided to play around a little and have some creative fun. A totally silly suggestion? Absolutely. But no harm done, right?

Suze Ingram said...

Hey Matt,

Thanks for your comment. Yeah, I guess I am taking this a wee bit too seriously. A couple of others have said the same thing. I just felt really disappointed when I saw what Pentagram had looked so dumb compared to the others. I think they missed a great opportunity - I would have loved to have seen what an agency with the golden reputation of Pentagram could do with the gawd-awful Craigslist.

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