The famaliarity of your home, where you grew up — the worn out carpet on the stairs, the long stratch that runs along the kitchen hardwood floor where you inadvisably spun out while riding your Big Wheel indoors, the layered smell of decades of spaghetti sauce and roast turkey and fabric softener — remains a steadfast marker of who you are, where you where formed.
You grow past that home, but whenever you go back it feels right; maybe it's smaller than you remember, the walls worn and dingy, the carpet more stained, the rooms more crowded and faded; but it's home. Sure the shag carpet and golden sofaset are dated and mostly hideious, but it's familiar and reminiscent.
Then there's Craigslist. The ultimate website that focuses on the functional over the visual. Rows and rows of columns and columns of lists and text and links. No flourish. No fluff. No overdone gradients and embossed boxes with rounded edges and drop shadows. Nothing is unnecessary. But nothing is important. While the goal of any design ough to lead the viewer and participate to join in a journey — the story of your site — sometimes the entire story is spewed in your face and you're left to sift through the mess.
There is nothing remotely remarkable or even pretty about the site. Its nearly void of any hierarchy or presentational invitation to "click". You can click everything. And everything is what you have. Yet to simply surmise the site based on it's lack neglects purpose — one of the most important aspects of any web development and design. The purpose isn't to do anything but present listing of services; exactly like the newspaper classifieds. Sure they could have done "conceptual" and mimicked the printed counterpart, but at the cost of speed, simplicity and functionality.
Some things are what they are — and that's just fine.