With a limited social feature on the Airbnb app. This project can help Airbnb to attract more younger users to enjoy using the App. With a build in inbox system, users no longer need to exit the Airbnb app and use a third party to communicate with their friends. Once the user sees an Airbnb they like, the user can share the site through our build in inbox either to individuals or create a group message. Inbox system is no longer between host and visitors but expanding the social platform.


Work Process

This is the process how I worked to add new features for Airbnb app. Making step by step for each task.

Phase 2. Research

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Most of Airbnb's competitors like Vrbo and Vacasa are very similar to Airbnb. They all allow the user to search and select the dates before choosing the stay. However, none of the competitors has an inbox system that allows users to communicate amongst friends nor have a feature allowing users to transfer money. Therefore; developing a social platform for Airbnb including message systems and rating systems from friends will attract more younger users and increase branding at the same time.

User interviews

Survey with 5 participants, 3 male and 2 female, all have experience of using Airbnb App. This survey was formatted to gain insight on users experiences of using Airbnb App, for example: what feature they like the most, understand their behavior while using Airbnb, and pain points.

“I’m the one collect the money all the time. Sometimes, asking people to pay back can be a headache. I wish there was a feature for a group of people to pay separately.”

- Male, 27 years old

“A friend's recommendation will increase the chance of booking the Airbnb”

- Female, 23 years old

“I’m the one collect the money all the time. Sometimes, asking people to pay back can be a headache. I wish there was a feature for a group of people to pay separately.”

- Male, 27 years old

Interview Result

Essentially, I learned that all of my participants have used Airbnb for more than 3 years.  All users expressed their frustration while using the Airbnb app to communicate with friends because Airbnb has no built-in social platform for users to share information and stay amongst users. They wish Airbnb can improve to be  more user friendy in order to keep people of using their App.

Phase 3. Ideations


By conducting guerrilla research, I interviewed 5 people and identified a type of Airbnb user who could be our target user.

Task Flow

At the end of the research phase I looked at the app map and the findings from my user persona and used them as a reference to create this task flow on how a user would use Social platform to communicate when other while using Airbnb App. After planning out this task flow to understand how the inbox system would benefit users on booking and communicating, I dived into updating my previous app map to include the new feature and how it would integrate with the current design.


Once I solidified the flow of my feature, my next step was to start designing. I sketched a few variations of the inbox system and paying system. Then I created mid-Fi wireframes using design patterns from the existing app.

Phase 4. UI Design

Airbnb Typography



I implanting UI designs that integrated with the current app. Using the task flow and wireframes, I design high fi wireframes of all the screens necessary during the flow, making sure the UI elements matched the existing Airbnb app

New Features

Able to see your friends pervious stay and review

After typing in the search destination, the search result page will show the user's friends previous review on Airbnb that they have stayed. This new feature help users to have a better in-depth look of which Airbnb is the best fit for their travel. Users simply click on the icon, it will immediately direct them into the message system, so they can communicate with their friends and ask for advice.

In-build messenger through share system

This feature is created for users who want to share the best fit Airbnb for the trip amongst friends inside the Airbnb app. After clicking on the share button, it will direct users to the page of helping users to create a group, private chat, or an existing group. After that, users can start their conversation without exiting the Airbnb app.

Transferring money through the in-build messenger

This feature allows users to collect money immediately after booking the airbnb. Users can send a money request through the in-build messenger to have a record of who already paid. This feature will also calculate how much each traveler needs to pay for the cost. Users can pay off Airbnb after receiving money from everyone, therefore, it can reduces the inconvenience for users asking money back after the trip

Phase 5. Testing

Usability Testing

After completing the UI designs, I created a prototype with my designs in order to conduct a usability test to observe if participants were able to share the Airbnb through the in-build system. Also to see if participants were able to transfer money through the App.

I created three scenarios to test for in my usability test:

  • On the result page contact a friend to ask for traveling advice
  • Find an Airbnb information to share to the group you created
  • Use inbox feature to send money

Usability Testing Result

Four participants, who are Airbnb users, were able to complete all the given scenarios indicating that I was able to integrate the in-build messenger system seamlessly.

Key Takeaways

After this project, I understand simplicity is key. It was difficult to keep the exact same branding as the original Airbnb application, while not messing with any information architecture of the application. Keeping this in mind will help me immensely in terms of choosing how to execute a feature with as little disruption as possible.

Something I would have done differently would be to interview more participants to gather more insights. By increasing the raw data from interviews I think there could be other directions I could have approached a more functional social platform.

With the creation of an in-build social platform feature, Airbnb can now create another source of experience for their users.

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