Saturday, April 13, 2013

Why Craigslist app for iPad

Several posts back, I compared a Windows 8 Craigslist app to using the generic Craigslist site and concluded that the Windows 8 app is just too clunky.  For today's post, I thought it may be worthwhile to expand this comparison to demonstrate the Craigslist app that I frequently use on my iPad and discuss the user experience for a better understanding of why this app is frequently used while the generic Craigslist site is sometimes used and the Windows 8 Craigslist app is seldom used.

Convenience and boot up:
The Windows 8 app requires a boot up.  While some may tolerate this delay, when you want to just take a quick peek at Craigslist, waiting for a computer to boot up is a drag to say the least and if you're in a hurry may not be tolerable.

The generic Craigslist site may be accessed through the browser using computer or iPad, but it does require typing in the URL.  If used through the computer, once again you're stuck with waiting for your operating system to boot.  The generic Craigslist site is a bit more tolerable on the iPad, but you still need to manually type the URL and for big fingered people like myself, I find the iPad touch keypad a bit cumbersome so the less I need to type the better.

To access the iPad app, you simply tap the icon for the app and you are immediately at your Craigslist home screen as shown below.

This screen is very straightforward to use.  Unless this is the first time using the app, your location will already be set.  If you need to change it, simply click the "Change" button.  Choose your category by clicking the "Change" button and if you want to set a filter, simply click the (take a wild guess...) "Change" button.  Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity...  If you are searching for something specific in the category, simply type it in the search field and click the "Search" button; otherwise, you can click the "Browse All" button.

The screen shot above provides an example of your search results.  These results are visually appealing and you can easily view the full details by simply clicking the listing or you can use your finger to scroll down the page to view additional results...yes, it really is that easy!  As with the original Craigslist site, the most recent listings appear first in the results.

Some additional features of this iPad app is that you can save a Search; thus, instead of having to set your criteria (such as category and maximum price) each time, you can simply run your saved search. This app also allows you to save listings to your favorites or to share listings by email.  The paid (only $1.99) version of this app also provides a mechanism for you to set Notifications so that your search can run silently in the background and if a listing is placed which meets your criteria, it will then sound an alarm.  (I will note that a Craigslist app with a notifications feature is a great app for a smart phone as many folks often carry their phone wherever they go so they can be assured of not missing a great deal on Craigslist).

At first I was a bit concerned that this post was too short, but I think this shortness accentuates the point of my comparison which is that the iPad app is just very simple to use in contrast to the very clunky, awkward Windows 8 app.  The iPad version is the hands down winner!