With more than a handful of existing Craigslist apps available in the App Store, and Craigslist known for not being overly cooperative when it comes to third-party developers using its data, Mokriya, the app development studio behind Hipster and Sidecar’s mobile apps, thinks it has finally got it right. Today the company launched its first Mokriya-branded application, Mokriya Craigslist, on both iOS and Android to bring the studio’s take on creating intuitive mobile-friendly user interfaces to the listings site that gets over 50 billion page views a month.
Mokriya co-founder Sunil Kanderi spoke with BetaKit about the challenge of building a user-friendly Craigslist app. “One of the major problems with Craigslist is that it has tons of categories and subcategories and to actually display the data in a user-friendly way, in a simple and compelling mobile experience, we had to come up with a new UI,” said Kanderi. “The experience we tried to build here is that browsing Craigslist should be as beautiful and as simple as browsing some of the best mobile apps like Pinterest or Path.”
Available for free, the app will be made available across more than 70 countries where Craigslist has listings. The app was designed so that users can find whatever they’re looking for in two taps or less, displaying item details, images, and a call button to contact the person who created the listing. The app can also access a user’s location and will return results closest to them. The company plans to monetize the app through a $0.99 in-app purchase which will allow users to post items they want to sell, favorite items, and set up automatic search alerts.
Though other third-party apps like PadMapper have seen the extent to which Craigslist will go to preserve its traffic, Kanderi said Mokriya went through a long process to license both the data and the name for the app. While other players like SellSimple, Antengo, Quickable, and more recently Rumgr are taking the mobile-first route of enabling anyone to browse and create listings, Mokriya believes its design, as well as the fact that it’s officially licensed as a Craigslist app, will set it apart.
“I think there are efforts underway to solve similar problems, especially around posting. But we…took a holistic approach and wanted to create this from the ground up for mobile,” Kanderi added. “To solve this problem, we’ve done stuff you typically won’t see in other apps. They’re custom UI elements we came up just for this, you won’t see them anywhere else.”
When asked about some of the other projects Mokriya had underway or if they would continue putting out other studio-branded apps, Kanderi did not disclose any specifics, but said the studio was focused squarely on getting the Craigslist app out. Whether its business model of charging for listings pans out will be interesting to see given the number of free alternatives available, however, with a design-centric approach to bringing the world’s largest listing site to mobile, and experience building apps like Hipster, the company has the potential to become the default Craigslist app.