About Airbnb
Airbnb is an online marketplace that allows property owners to rent their place as holiday accommodation and allows travellers to find a place to stay while they are away from home. Based in San Francisco, the platform is accessible via website and mobile app. Airbnb does not own any of the listed properties but receive commission from each booking.
About the project
This project was completed as part of the Product Design Bootcamp at The Design Crew. We had 2 weeks as a team of 3 product designers to complete this project. Even though this project is fictional, it is a problem faced by Airbnb users.
2 weeks

Product designer

Problem statement
What people problem are we trying to solve ?
How can travelers be ensured that their accommodation will comply with the ad?

How do we know this is a real problem?
There is a lots of negative comments on app stores, blogs and forums.

How will we know if we’ve solved this problem?
- Average score on the “compliance” criterion should increase
- Fewer such posts on app stores
- User retention
- Fewer requests for refunds / complaints to customer support
About the discovery
As our first project for the bootcamp, the problem was already defined. We have not covered the discovery phase. Also, we did not have access to any user research or any other quantitative data from Airbnb.
First of all, what is a non-compliant ad ?
We started the exploration phase by asking ourselves what made an accommodation conform to the ad or not. By reading negative reviews, we were able to distinguish three categories:

- Issues with things the host may state on the listing, such as equipment or listing features.
- Issues related to things that the host cannot declare on the listing, such as noise, odors, type of neighborhood, etc.
- Life safety issues, which relate to something other than compliance.

We have therefore defined the conformity of an ad as follows: 

For an accommodation to comply with the ad, all the elements declared on this ad must be real and functional. This can be the equipment (washing machine, wifi, television, etc.) or the characteristics of the accommodation (number of rooms, number of beds, photos, etc).
Thanks to crazy 8's and storyboard exercises, we came up with different solutions to ensure the ad compliance.
Some solutions were not retained for reasons of business impact, scalability, security or low added value compared to the existing one:

- A “New accommodation” badge on new ads and which offers a discount to travellers.
- Explorer Mode, which allows certain travelers to benefit from a discount on their trips in exchange for a complete check-up of the accommodations they are visiting.
- A video of the accomodation that the host can display on their ad.
- A “Verified accommodation” badge when travelers declare that the accommodation is compliant during the exit inventory.
- An in-depth entry and exit inventory.

Here is the chosen solution:

A reporting feature that allows travelers during their stay to report a non-compliance that will be displayed on the ad in order to warn future travelers.
Solution & Prototyping
To conceptualize our reporting functionality, we divided our solution into 2 users stories.

User story 1
As a traveler, I can see on an announcement a non-compliance warning if there is a problem so that I have all the information before booking.

As we have seen previously, a non-conformity can relate to the equipment or the characteristics of the accommodation. On Airbnb, these elements are separated in several places on the interface. We therefore asked ourselves the following questions:

- Where to put the warning?
- How to differentiate the report on the equipment and the characteristics of the accommodation?

We chose to create a new item in the featured items section of an ad, to consolidate all non-compliant items in one place. An overlay opens on click for more information on the nature of the problem. If a piece of equipment is non-compliant, it is also displayed in red in the list of equipment.
User story 2
As a traveler, I can report a non-compliant element of my accommodation so that other travelers are notified.

During their stay, the traveler has three entry points for reporting non-compliance: Travel, Messages and Profile.
He can then select the item he wishes to report from a list, then select characteristics, add text or add photos. A reporting section is then created in his profile.
User Testing
We had our prototypes tested by a panel of 5 users, aged 24 to 65, all Airbnb users.

The objectives of this test were :

- Check the visibility, understanding and impact on decision-making of the non-compliance warning when booking an accomodation.
- Check the usability and fluidity of our reporting feature.

We gave them the following tasks to perform:

- Choose from a selection of 3 accommodations (including 2 with a non-compliant warning).
- What would you do if, during a stay, the washing machine was broken?
About the non-compliance warning on the ad

Users base the choice of accommodation mainly on ratings, photos, reviews and price. They do not go into the details of an ad if they are not looking for a particular information.

- 4/5 users have not seen the non-compliance warning on the ad.
- 4/5 users have not looked at the details of the equipment.

I choose based on ratings and reviews - Rose Marie

About the reporting fonctionnality

1. The reporting feature is usable:

3/5 users have used the reporting feature.

2. The navigation is basically the same for all users:

4/5 users first want to solve the problem directly with the host by phone or message.
It's the host that could do something rather than the platform - Quetzalli
4/5 users go to their trip page to look for a solution if the host does not respond.

3. There is a lack of information regarding the consequences of the feature.

3/5 users wonder if the reporting feature will solve the problem quickly.
I think that with the "Report a problem" button, there will be no immediate resolution - Florian
2/5 users hesitated or did not want to use the reporting feature to avoid putting the host in an uncomfortable position
I tell myself that the report can put the host in the shit because Airbnb is aware - Alessio
Solution improvement
About the non-compliant warning on the ad

In order to make the non-compliant warning more visible, we placed it on the first section of the page with a red border and we reworked the iconography. This solution should make it possible to inform the traveler without penalizing the host too much. A page opens on click for more information on the nature of the problem.
About the reporting fonctionnality

- Although users first seek to contact the host to resolve the issue, our report button in the Messages tab has not been used. We have therefore chosen to remove it to focus on the second reflex of users, namely to seek a solution in the Travel tab. Instead, a "new report" badge is displayed in the chat with the host.
- On a trip page, the “Report a problem” button made users doubt its relevance. So we changed the wording to “Report a problem in the accommodation”.
- We have created an intermediate page in order to present the functionality to the user and reassure him about the consequences of the report for the host as well as the duration that the resolution process can take.
These solution improvement have not been tested in this project but are required to go further.
This project being part of my course at The Design Crew, we weren't able to measure its direct impact on users and the business.

If this had been possible though, as said in the intro of this case study, key KPIs we would have measured to determine the success of the solution would have been :

- Average score on the “compliance” criterion should increase
- Fewer such posts on app stores
- User retention
- Fewer requests for refunds / complaints to customer support

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