Video Case Study: Airbnb renter activation

Jan 8

Video Case Study: Airbnb renter activation

In this 8min teardown Mellonie Francis of rareiio.com Digital Agency joins me to dig into AirBnB’s first-time-user-experience (FTUX) to see how the user’s job-to-be-done is resolved and motivates them to dive deeper into the platform. User Activation!

This is Part 1 – stay tuned for Part 2 the home owner’s FTUX.

Highlights include:

  • Why force a user to enter their cell-phone number
  • “Instant Gratification”: Why allow users to shop for a place to stay first before getting users to register.
  • Why OAUTH login experience is key for consumer apps.
  • Cognitive helpers like icons to silently hint at what I’m supposed to type in.
  • The use of “Stop-and-think” UI elements for compliance components.
  • The role of consistent and playful design elements in the journey.
  • Repeated design elements for predictability.

Transcript

David Jones
Hello, this is David Jones and from Pointzi. And we’re going to do a tear down today and have a look at Airbnb and see how they treat user onboarding. With me is Mellonie Francis. Mellonie, what are you up to?

Mellonie Francis
Hi. Well, I’m here with you. And I guess a bit about me is that I run a digital agency. We help people with UI UX, web design, web development, all the way through to marketing strategy and scale up. So looking forward to us talking about this onboarding experience, which is one of my favorite experiences and get point out what they’ve done really well. What could they could potentially improve, which is not a whole lot. I bet that

David Jones
they’ve probably figured out a lot by now and I may have recorded just one A/B test – they might might have multiple A/B tests running I don’t know. So we’ll just be looking at least what I saw. So you can imagine by this stage, they’ve got pretty, pretty well bedded down. So what we’re going to do is run through the run through the recording and start and stop it as needed. So let’s take it from there.

Here we are, this is the front page did you get so you can actually start and actually go and do a search straight away, or you could actually login. So there’s an interesting thing for me in terms of instant gratification for the user, which is that I can go and actually search on properties and stuff like that without having to create an account. So that’s pretty interesting on that side of it. And now what I’ve done here is clicked on the link to actually go ahead and login. So that’s the process here naturally, we’ve got OAUTH stuff so login with Facebook Single Sign On, so that’s pretty cool.

Alright, so standards standard sort of filling boxes there anything you want to say about this Miller?

Mellonie Francis
Ah, well, I think from a user experience perspective, no user would probably go and sign up until they had that first experience. So the thing that you pointed out is, I think so essential with what Airbnb is done is that before you can actually sign up, they actually enable you to experience their platform. And, and I think that is so key for user experience is not to just force people to get information first, because you kind of feel uncomfortable, right? All before seeing this. From this sign up perspective. They’ve got Facebook and Google API, which is fantastic. So you can just do the one click touch if you don’t feel comfortable going through this whole, you know, process of sharing your all your data. So I really like the API. And I think that’s really key to talk user experience.

David Jones
With your customers. Do you tend to find that adding that actually increases uptake on registrations and login?

Mellonie Francis
Yeah, yeah, I think when people people expect these days saying Facebook, Google, people also a now It depends on your platform. What API is that you want to integrate to. Because it depends on your user. Or where are they most likely to, you don’t want to like, if it’s HR App, you would be using LinkedIn to connect them into that. So really got to think about which API is relevant. I really like if if Airbnb wanted, they could have every API. They’re not just Facebook and Google. And they could be integrating with every API that’s out there, including LinkedIn, but they’ve kept it really simple and not confused, or what do I do that just giving you the two options? So that’s fantastic. What I really love about this screen is the icons over here to your right, David, how you filled it in, but it’s got the two person next to your name. Yeah. And at the top, it’s an email I didn’t I think that is top, top UI and top top UX because if I, if I’m from my perspective, I know what that icon means. I’ve been programmed for a long time to nice, I didn’t have to read any text making it much more friendly. In terms of the onboarding experience,

David Jones
Got it? Got it. Okay. Yeah. And they do provide the little island thing here as well to to actually see your passwords.

Mellonie Francis
Yes, exactly. Very, very cool.

Here also the birth date, you’ll notice how they’ve presented there’s many ways to enable birthdays, but they’ve enabled a drop down. So I wonder why they’ve, you know, done a drop down and not a actual calendar where you press into the calendar and you just kind of have the drop down in there. So it’s interesting. How did you find that experience? The birthday my entering that was that?

David Jones
Yeah, well, I know that because I’m very old. Yeah, but ultimately with with calendar drop downs I’m clicking you know, many, many times to get back to get back through that if they don’t find it have a really good annual navigator. This is actually really quick, you can kind of go through that straightaway.

This, this is a video so I’m too I’m too late to do it now. Okay, because I’m just pausing the video.

But why do you think that? I mean, I know that they want to actually get your identity stuff here but it’s interesting nice right? This right up front. Have you got any perspective on that at all?

Mellonie Francis
Well because you need to be you need to be greater than 18 to be to be able to use Airbnb. So that’s what I love is that actually explained why they’re actually getting that and they’ve actually given me a confirmation that the people that use Airbnb won’t actually get your birthday just for compliance purposes.

David Jones
Yeah, they’ve obviously figured out that people balk at it, because they’re concerned about personally identifiable information stuff like. I always balk at that particular stuff just because I come from the security backgrounds. Yes, yes. Yes. Seems like an unnecessary thing, but

Mellonie Francis
Anyway, and I don’t think they had it when you think about 10 years ago, but you know, Airbnb has had a lot of compliance issues thrown at it by government and a lot of people happy in how they’ve disrupted the market. They’ve had put in additional fields to probably satisfy the whole compliance that they’ve got in housing and what they are doing in market. So they probably have to put that in.

David Jones
all right, very good. So let’s crack on then. Let’s continue the video and just, you’ll be allowed if you want me to, to stop something.

Okay. So here I am here, I’m now presented with a modal so I can’t do anything else other than that. So I kind of like these kind of flows from an onboarding perspective in terms of you you’ve got to keep people from sort of wandering off the path so this is this is obviously something they they feel is important.

Mellonie Francis
Accept, okay, I’ll decline. Yeah. Cool.

David Jones
Yeah. So just some interesting sort of aspects, a lot of applications wouldn’t have sort of like an explanation of that about them.

Mellonie Francis
Yeah, this is really good.

David Jones
As you said, you know, they’ve probably been hit with a lot of compliance type things over the years or some controversy. So this is one of the ways of dealing with that, I guess.

Mellonie Francis
From a UX UI perspective usually with I accept terms of description is a little checkbox but you can see that Airbnb is now move to very clearly, you know, saying accept or decline. Having it as a stop and think like its got its own actual page just to get you to go here is all our laws or whatever. What that’s really interesting. What’s a movement away from that little I accept and move on on a tick box?

David Jones
So yep, Okay, that’s good. So tick boxes versus Yeah, basically, except decliners. Yeah, much more imperative, isn’t it? Alright, so let’s move on. As he did, he accepts it and moves on to the next thing. Okay, so it’s telling me I’ve got four steps next life. Yeah.

Mellonie Francis
Beautiful, beautifully presented.

David Jones
It’s interesting the framing of a two and kind of looks like an old Polaroid photo as well, too, with the white frame on the outside. I’m not quite sure if that’s still live.

Mellonie Francis
Yeah. They’re really trying to say it’s a community. It’s really the pictures being chosen to get people to go family environment.

David Jones
Yep, yep. All right, adding adding a profile photo pretty standard sort of thing for many social networks. But I guess it really helps here in terms of identity and trust and stuff like that.

Mellonie Francis
But it’s nice that this that I’ll do this later as well, just in the text here to make you really go through the journey quick. And I think that is top experience right there.

David Jones
Yeah, this should always be some sort of escape clause, if it’s not an absolute imperatives, that sort of thing. And it’s interesting to with the Facebook photo, at least that’s again, removing that friction point of having to go and do get a profile photo.

Mellonie Francis
Yeah. Even though Yeah, exactly. So again, if you didn’t do the API look into giving you another opportunity to connect into API again, here, so nicely, nicely done. And see the little bit off points at the top yet, again, reconfirming, you’re on. This is only one step kind of making you feel, oh, there’s only three more steps to go. And it’s so easy. The first step.

David Jones
Yeah, very reinforcing, isn’t it? It was the last day that it did with Monday. You know, they had this progressive disclosure thing and it just every time you filled out a form they gave you like, an extra field to do so you always felt as though the the journey was getting longer. You did didn’t feel like you’re getting rewarded. So this is much nicer in terms of being transparent about it. So here we go. You get my ugly mug on here. There is and get out of there pretty quick. Right? So now what we’re doing is we’re doing is phone stuff. So this is interesting. Why are they doing this? Is it a critical part of the whole process of being involved?

Mellonie Francis
Yeah, well, I think they want your phone to verify you as a real person, because for them, it’s really important that they get real people on here. And we don’t have you know, any documents or anything like that. Because, Yes, okay. Yeah. So from my Threatmetrix days, basically the people who create fake accounts and stuff like that maybe once a social network gets to or some sort of platform marketplace gets to be really valuable, then you get the scammers come in. And you’ve got

to think about why the mobile is so important. And this is something 10 years ago when they started and I was one of the host, and I was a user of it. I remember i’d booked in for a accommodation in Hobart and this information wasn’t given out by Airbnb, and then I was in Hobart, hoping that someone would email me back, but I just didn’t have confidence of what if they don’t, you know, how do I contact them, I’m now in Hobart. And this information has to be given very, like, they have to be able to give this information up front so people can easily get in contact. And that’s why I think they’re now doing this really nice onboarding, to get those critical information because you’re gonna have people stay. And we don’t want any confusion when you come to a foreign land or foreign countries often, and you don’t, you can’t get in contact. So I think that it’s critical for them and they figure that out much later.

David Jones
Yeah, I kind of feel you know, whenever I whenever I use it, to say I’m in Italy, and you kind of you know, you’ve got you, you’ve got your local 4G SIM card or whatever. So you’re up and running with your data. And then what they what they tend to do is least maybe they did do it, maybe they still do it was push notification, SMS and email. They try and hit you when it’s around that transactional stuff of meeting the host or whatever. It’s like they they don’t leave it to chance. You get it on each of these channels, which I think people will appreciate, appreciate it more than hated in that transactional sense.

Mellonie Francis
Again on this. I really love the icon use, which I pointed out to before, but again, icon. I know what I need to do. I know that it’s an email thing and I really encourage people to use that. Whenever I’m designing, it just makes it so much easier to know where what I’ve got to do.

Subtle, subtle, reinforcing type thing. All right. Good. I think in the video I went out and did the validation from the emails. But so there we are. So we’ve we’ve gone through that particular flow, I’m now a legitimate user. You can see my icon in the in the top right hand side. And now I can get on with actually doing my search, and presumably actually do a booking at that particular stage. So, yeah, so that was interesting. So there’s a couple of painful points in there. But as you said, they’re tied into the actual mission of being able to actually ultimately book something. So that’s kind of interesting on that.

Because this bit already, right. I think at that point, when you’re going to sign up, they probably pretty much need that because when you’re going to sign up is probably when you’re ready to make that booking. So those information become critical for them to get that information to apply it to that end person that you’re booking with the host.

David Jones
Yep, yep. Okay. All right. So I think that’s all we had on there. Do you want to jump straight on to the the host as well, too?

Transcribed by https://otter.ai