American media designer and consultant Alan Jacobson has had some luck convincing newspaper publishers outside the US to sign off on some fairly disruptive redesigns for classifieds. One interesting example is aviso-oportuno.com.mx, which (via Jacobson’s firm) redid its web classifieds in a way that severely simplified the interface.
aviso-oportuno.com.mx is the separate classifieds brand for the Mexican newspaper El Universal, which also publishes four other, separately branded online verticals.
Take a look at the new interface (click image to go to the website), compared to the original which follows. Mousing over one of the colored category blocks expands the box down to show more fields; in this image the red category (autos) has been expanded.
Obviously, the site’s main page is much more Google-like in its simplicity. The old design — which is fairly typical of newspaper classifieds homepages — is complicated and confusing. Jacobson believes that such cluttered design hinders users, and is part of the reason that alternatives like Craigslist are favored by many online users.
Jacobson describes the thinking behind the redesign in a comment elsewhere on this website. There he notes that such changes are harder to make at US newspaper websites:
“These changes may seem elementary, but we’ve found that even simple changes to improve usability are difficult or impossible to make at papers in the US. That’s one reason why users prefer Craigslist — it’s easier to use than newspaper sites.”
What do you think? Is there merit in “Google-izing” online classifieds sections?