As a part of my application for an internship program earlier this year, I decided to do a quick design challenge on redesigning several features of the current Airbnb mobile application on Android.
Project GoalTo redesign the Airbnb app to better support the user's decision making process.
For this project, I started by doing a quick research on who the users are and defined their main goal. I conducted a few informal testing sessions for user insights, analyzed several design issues in the current application, and prioritized 3 of the most important areas for improvement. For each issue, I proposed a solution in which I believe can enhance the user experience.
Who are the users?
From a short research on Airbnb’s target audience, I found that there are two main group of users — the travelers and the hosts. For this project, I'm focusing on redesigning the features for travelers on the mobile app.
User GoalTo discover a place that best suits their needs while staying within their budget.
To find out and understand more of the user’s needs, I did 3 informal user testing sessions with my friends. Here's what I found from the observations:
- Users make comparisons between several short-listed options based on a range of criteria — such as how the houses look, what amenities are available, and which area the house is located.
- Users look for very specific things in a house based on their personal preference, such as access to Wi-fi or what the bathroom looks like.
Define: Current Issues
1. How do I compare between two houses?
Users would need to look into each house individually. This information overload makes it diffucult to make a decision.
2. What's missing in this home?
Users can only see a list of amenities that are available. Missing amenities may be very crucial to the user’s decision- such as the lack of WiFi.
3. Why do I need to scroll through 20+ images to find what the bathroom looks like?
The carousel makes it difficult for users to quickly browse through.
Design: Proposed Solutions
1. Add a comparison feature
When the user views their favorites list, they can select houses for a side-by-side comparison of various properties. To accommodate comparison of many houses at the same time, the list would be in a horizontal scrollbar.
2. Show a comprehensive list of amenities
Users can customize their prioritized amenities to be displayed on the main home screen, then click to view the comprehensive list.
3. Add a gallery feature
Users can either click on the image for a maximized view, or click on the gallery icon to browse the whole gallery.
I used Invision to create a clickable prototype to demonstrate all the screen flows and interactions for the proposed solutions.
Evaluate: How to determine the results of my redesign?
Lastly, I propose several metrics that can be used to determine whether the solutions had successfully alleviate the defined issues.
1. An increase in conversion rate
User successfully complete Airbnb booking
2. An increase in satisfaction on house ratings and reviews
Indicates a better match between user expectations and reality
3. A decrease in the amount of time taken to complete tasks
Finding a photo, deciding on a home
Reflection: Important lessons I've learned
Considering the amount of time spent on this quick 2 days project, I am personally very satisfied with the outcome. However, I realize that there are several things that could’ve been improved during the process. These are the important lessons I learned from doing this project.
1. Don’t overlook the importance of user data — gather your findings before jumping into any conclusions.
Many of my assumptions were proven wrong after just 1 hour of testing. It's also crucial to have user data to verify your statements.
2. To generate more diverse ideas while working alone, try assuming the role of your old teammates.
While I was brainstorming the solutions, I found that most of my ideas are very similar and repetitive. I started thinking back to the teams that I’ve worked with and asked myself — What would A suggest in this situation? Would B be against this idea? Assuming such roles helped me generate more creative alternatives and find holes in my solutions.