As a graphic designer, I like to think that design plays a huge role in whether or not a site will succeed.  And for the most part, I’d argue that great design is essential to any site’s success.  After all, great design can encourage people to stay on a site longer.  It can help users to find what they need.  It can lead the eye through the page to convert more users into to paying customers.  And it can encourage repeat visits and increase your website traffic.  Look at the best sites out there and graphic design, whether simple or complex, supports the site’s objectives.

So, then why is Craig’s List so successful?  It’s the 24th most popular site in the world and from a visual standpoint, it’s horrible.  Even from a usability standpoint, regardless of aesthetics, it’s bad.  So then why has it grown so large?

Here’s a great piece that addresses some of these questions:

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/03/11/redesigning-craigslist-with-focus-on-usability/

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