Airbnb Redesign

Jan. 2019

One Week Design Exercise

My Role:Research, Concept, Design

Tools Used: Sketch, Adobe Illustrator


In this project, I want to provide a feature redesign which aims to smooth users’ pre-arrival experience, especially for users who are visiting a new place or even a new country.

To help me understand the users, I interviewed six Airbnb users, including first-time users and frequent users, about their experience with the Airbnb mobile app.


How can we enhance the guests' Airbnb pre-arrival experience?

Unlike traditional hotel experience, the check-in process for Airbnb homes differs from one house to another. The hosts are encouraged and are willingly trying to make the guests feel welcoming, but they may have very different approaches. So, I wandered have the app side provided enough information for a user to go to the home and get checked in smoothly? Further, how can the app help the hosts in delivering a better experience to the guests?

I conducted contextual inquiries with six users and talked about their most recent Airbnb trips. I had them show me their process with the app while answering my questions. During the process, I also asked about their general traveling habits to get a more thorough understanding of them.

 Task Analysis 

To identify the areas for improvements, I distilled the common tasks among all users. These tasks focused on the steps that users take from the moment they secure a house until they’ve successfully checked in to the home.

task analysis

 User Journey 

I recognized from the contextual inquiries that although users went through similar steps, they have done the steps in different orders based on their personality and prior experience with Airbnb. To better identify users’ pain-points and possible opportunities, I have created three personas with their pre-arrival journey using the Airbnb app.

new user
first-time user
frequent user

 Pain Points and Solutions 

In this section, I will further explain the main user pain-points based on the evidence from research activities.

Through research, I came to the understanding that Airbnb has done a pretty good job to prepare the guests for their home. More than half of my interviewees felt the experience was very positive. However, there are still a few points that can be addressed to improve the experience a bit more for all users.

 Key Finding #1: Experience-Based Knowledge  

How well a user knows about getting around a good Airbnb experience often depends on how much prior knowledge or experience they had. Users with more experiences generally have a better view of the overall flow and know about the troubleshooting methods. They also know what to expect from the hosts.

On the other hand, new users might not be so familiar with the overall experience. They might have missed some critical steps before arriving at the home which could result in a very negative experience.


Ensure that each user is aware of the critical information in multiple channels, i.e., check-in instructions and address. Although there are emails with tips sent out to the users, more in-apps instruction can be of great assistance. So, my solution is to send out a reminder through app notification to each user two days before the trip, instructing them to check for critical information and make sure they have everything ready.


In the “Check-In Instruction” section, I encouraged the user to talk to the hosts, since communication with the host is the way to get information and a big part for the Airbnb experience.

 Key Finding #2: Possible Language Barrier 

Even though English is the universal language, not everyone is proficient enough to express what exactly they want to say. Other times, guests and the host might speak different languages and could not find a way to talk without using a translation app.



I have noticed that there’s a translate button on the house rules page for the users to use. I thought why not have real-time translation function in the messaging page. Having translation will encourage communication of hosts and guests because it eliminates the fear of not being able to understand each other.

I chose to only implement this translation in the situation where both parties could not understand each other because from my preliminary I wasn’t able to determine how much interpretation is needed. Thus, to perfect this functionality, there needs to be more research on users view of real-time auto-translation.

 Key Finding #3: Juggling with different apps 

From the contextual interview, users have demonstrated to me that they would need at least one navigation app, one ride sharing alongside with Airbnb app to be able to decide on transportation option.


Integrating a simplified navigation function into Airbnb flow, because 1) it provides more natural interaction 2) users would still prefer their usual navigation app if we offer the same functionality.

This function here provides a comparison for routes to the home from a public transportation center. Users will have options which remind them of the transportation centers’ names. Through this, I hope to reduce the effort of checking the travel itinerary.

In addition, there is a control for accessible options for users in need.


Users are also encouraged to ask the host for the best option if they have any doubts.

Each method will also associate with an appropriate “Next Step”. Proper translation and local service will be incorporated if the destination is in another country.

For taxi service, users can download a picture of the address to show to the driver.


For public transit, users can get a page of detailed directions. This page can also be download for cases when the internet is limited or unavailable in a new country.

public transportation

For ridesharing, users can go directly into the app, skipping the navigation app from original flow.


For car renting, it stays the same flow. Home parking information is also available for a reminder.

car rental


Users would be able to save a particular way of transportation to trip overview page for quick access.

Solution Cont.

Serval interviewees mentioned packing as a crucial step in their pre-arrival experience. To make the right packing choice, users often need to go to the weather app. With this idea, I decided to have a new section in the app which allows users to get concise and informative information on the weather and what to pack visually. This function is inside the trip overview so that it is only a nice option to have, but not an intrusive step to the overall flow.

my weather

 Overall User Flow 

overall user flow

 Lesson Learned 

Thank you