A UX/UI product redesign to make group trip planning a more pleasant experience on Airbnb.

*Disclaimer: This case study is an independent project based on Airbnb's mobile app features in 2018
Project Details
MY ROLE: Digital Product Designer
TOOLKIT: Digital Product Design, UX Research
Like many young travellers, I love to travel. More often than not, I travel with friends or family and typically stay at an Airbnb. However, the process of booking an Airbnb for a group can be very time-consuming and arduous.
User Research
There are two types of users in the group trip booking process: the booker and the followers. Based on my user interviews with these two types of users, the group trip-booking process is regarded as stressful, tedious, and high-effort.

Based on the interviews, stress stemmed from juggling expectations and conflicting preferences of group members. The booking process is considered tedious because the process occurs across different platforms where Airbnb is coupled with another platform, such as Google Drive and Facebook Messenger. The booking process is considered high-effort because it is difficult to keep track of information and personal preferences.

When people want to find accommodations for a group trip, people want to search for places to stay that satisfies everyone in the group with minimal effort, but they have a hard time:
(1) keeping track of all the Airbnb options
(2) and taking into account everyone’s personal preferences

In the group booking process, pain points stem from sharing Airbnb options and the decision-making process itself.

For sharing, pain points included:
- Switching to different platforms
- Keeping track of all prospective Airbnb listings
- Keeping track of opinions of these listings

For decision-making, pain points included:
- Taking into account of personal preferences of all members
- Not having a side-by-side comparison analysis of all Airbnb listings in relation to important factors of consideration such as price and location
Opportunity finding
For the group trip booking process, the current solutions include Facebook Messenger, Google Drive, and verbal communication. These platforms are used to share Airbnb options and discuss people’s individual preferences. The 3 platforms are assessed based on how centralized it is in terms of keeping track of the prospective Airbnb options and how much it encourages communication among trip goers. There is no current solution that both centralizes information and encourages a high level of communication.

After conducting a brainstorming session with two friends, we identified 3 opportunities:
(1) How might we compare Airbnb options?
(2) How might we track the group’s personal preferences?
(3) How might we best compile and utilize feedback?

After the final round of brainstorming, there were six solutions that were considered:

- Collaborative dashboard: Creating a new collaborative feature separate from Saved Lists
- Preference weighting for the initial search: Surveying the booker’s preferences and weighing those preferences to produce more tailored results for the initial search
- Red flags: Letting users know which homes are absolute no’s for the group
- Side-by-side comparison analysis: Having a side-by-side view based on a specific preference
- Saved Lists Map: Having a map that has all the prospective homes
- Price/Person/Night metric: Showing the price per guest per night for each option
Selecting a solution
I used a feasibility-impact matrix to narrow down the solutions. When evaluating the possible solutions, I noticed that data collection was a significant factor in these solutions. Most of these possible solutions require all users in a group trip to fill out a questionnaire and state their preferences. However, it’s unrealistic to assume that everyone in a group will complete such a task.As a result, I opted for the side-by-side comparison feature and incorporate 2 other highly feasible solutions: the Saved Lists map and price/person/night metric.

Pain Point #1: Keeping track of all Airbnb options
In order to make the decision-making process more low-effort and informed, the side-by-side comparison feature enhances keeping track of Airbnb options by introducing price and location comparison functionality.

Pain Point #2: Keeping track of everyone’s preferences
The second pain point will be addressed by incorporating a simplified like and comment component to the side-by-side comparison analysis.
Map Feature
When comparing prospective Airbnb options, users often look at the Airbnbs’ locations relative to each other. There is no existing map feature built in the Saved Lists feature; as a result, many users opt for Google Maps to conduct a comparative analysis of Airbnb options based on location.

Many users I interviewed stated that they were familiar with the map feature on the Explore page. They expressed that the sliding interaction was not intuitive and the visual design of the bottom bar was too harsh. With this in mind, I iterated several prototypes that use bottom sheets, providing users more detailed summaries of the options on the map. On the map view, the prices are listed as a price per night per guest metric. This metric is calculated using the number of users invited on the Saved List.

For the final prototype, I selected Design E. After several interviews, I discovered that having a bottom sheet would add more layers to the map feature, which may confuse the user. Despite the un-intuitiveness of the sliding interaction, I opted for a bubble panel design. I figured that having the third panel peek on the left side of the screen was a good enough affordance for a sliding interaction.
Liking & Commenting
Commenting and liking help group trip goers keep track of feedback and preferences. After several interviews, I decided to integrate commenting and liking on the specific home listing view, rather than the feed view on Saved Lists. Limiting commenting and liking to the specific home listing view declutters the Saved Lists feed.

I selected Design A for both liking a listing and deleting comments. Interviewees expressed a strong preference for visual icons over text bubbles, specifically for the liking interaction. For deleting comments, the interaction of holding down on a comment was considered more intuitive than the interaction of sliding left on a comment. For the final iteration, I included a bottom sheet of all the likers for specific home listings.
Visual Design
For my visual design exploration, I decided to explore how the booking process can be a more immersive experience, helping users make better and more informed decisions. I used gradients to make the design of the map and specific home listing less harsh, blurring the line between images and information. In addition, I redesigned the slideshow of home listing photos by maintaining a portrait view, not a landscape view. Having a portrait view allows for the user to feel he or she is physically in the Airbnb home.However, it should be noted that if the listing has poor quality photos, portrait view will emphasize this since the photos are viewed full-screen.