UI/UX Designer— User Research, Wireframing, Prototyping
Sketch, Principle, Photoshop
Why is it difficult to plan out a trip with your friends on Airbnb?
For the Airbnb redesign, I focused on incorporating more social and collaborative functions by adding chatting and group planning features that encourage interaction among users. BACKGROUNDThis redesign was done for KPCB’s 2019 Design Fellows application. The prompt is to “redesign a feature of a Kleiner Perkins company’s product.”
While planning a trip to Singapore over the summer, my friends and I faced difficulty in finding places together on Airbnb. One person had to find a place first and send details in the group chat to discuss on where we wanted to book. During the process, we had to switch back and forth from our group chat to Airbnb, causing links to get lost and creating confusion. Eventually, one of our friends booked the room and venmo requested everyone. She was also the main point of contact with the host, so she had to make an effort to message everyone about the directions and more details about the booking. After experiencing this, I started wondering if there would be better ways to communicate with your friends on Airbnb.
So how can Airbnb encourage users to interact and plan trips together on the platform?
Understanding the Problem
Airbnb is no longer just about helping users find places to stay during travels, but about curating the whole travel experience. The Saved feature allows users to invite their friends to the boards to find places that they are interested in exploring; from the Saved feature, users can add saved places to their plans, which leads to the Trips feature.
However, while these features complement each other and aim towards providing a more collaborative experience, they feel a bit disjointed.
Even though I’ve already created a Saved board with a group, when I add a saved place to my plan, I would have to add my friends again to the separate trip itinerary in the Trips feature. Also, since we couldn’t actively interact and communicate on the platform, it was difficult to plan out a trip together.
I conducted a casual interview with 6 individuals to ask about their experience in using the Airbnb app with their friends.
Ideation & User Personas
After researching user pain points and understanding the current platform, I moved towards concepting, refining, and prototyping solutions. To make sure that this feature is user-friendly, I focused on adding onto the existing user flow that the app has.
I also created user personas to understand the user base and painpoints to design a solution around it.
Elizabeth is a senior in college and she's trying to plan out a graduation trip with her friends. They are planning on going to Europe, but they’ve never been to Europe so they’re not sure on where to stay and which activities to do. She wants to find a way to thoroughly plan out an itinerary with her friends.
Jack, 32 Jack is a photographer. He often travels with his photographer friends to take pictures together. Because he is often in charge of organizing trips, he books the Airbnbs, splits payments, and informs everyone the details of the trip. Since he's getting busier with work, he wants to find a better way to equally divide the responsibilities with his friends.
I focused on making two main changes for the redesign:
1. Ease of communication between friends: group members can directly message each other in the group chat and discuss their plans
2. Connecting the Saved and Trips feature: create a more streamlined experience by suggesting groups from the Saved boards to be added to the planned trips
1. Chat with Your Friends Users can directly chat with their friends in specific board groups and discuss about their options and traveling plans. The Inbox is split into 3 sections: all, groups, and hosts. With various viewing options, users can easily keep track of the people that they are talking to.
2. Create Polls
Users can create polls with their friends in the group chat to decide on where to book, which experience to explore, or which places to visit.
3. Confirm Booking and Split Payments Once the group decides on which experience or a stay to book, a user can send out booking confirmation requests, so that each group member can pay individually.
4. Directly Add Your Friends from the Saved Board to Planned Trips Rather than having to add your friends again to the Planned Trips, add your friends from the Saved Boards to plan an itinerary together.
User Research: Create more user personas to understand different types of users from various age ranges, since the current user stories were more focused on the younger generation. Conduct more user interviews to understand pain points and needs from a wide range of users.
Usability Testing: Create more prototypes to conduct further user research and identify any missing steps or errors in the user journey.
Research Potential New Features: Find out if there would be better ways to increase interaction and collaboration among users for more growth.
Be aware of creating repetitive features while redesigning an app