A concise and strong website design is crucially important for the success that site has on creating conversions and turning customers into repeat customers. “From SEO and traffic to branding and conversion rates, your site’s web design affects your entire internet presence (Hendricks, 2015). In a previous post, I go into some detail about the general importance of website design and its impact on a brand.
Airbnb, founded in 2008, is an online marketplace in which users can host their homes, apartment, etc to individuals looking for a homestay or tourism experience. To host or stay, a user simply goes on the Airbnb website and selects a few pieces of criteria such as dates, location, number of guests, price, and so on. In order to make the initial Airbnb experience as smooth and welcoming as possible, Airbnb website designers have developed a site worth breaking down due to its near flawless design (in terms of design, navigation, and simplicity). “The design of your website can either make or break the business you are trying to deliver. It actually makes a difference on how your target audience views your business or company and potentially turn them into your customers. As such, developing a website design that has an impressive user interface will result in a much better conversion rate, which leads to better business and revenue” (Nilsson, 2017).
The moment you enter the website, you know exactly where you are and what the site has to offer. “Book a trip. Host travelers. All on Airbnb”, simple to the point and giving the customer both options the second they open the website. As Steve Krug explains, The Big Bang Theory of Web Design is centered around the idea that the first few seconds a user spends on a new website are critical (Krug, 2014). Airbnb does very well in regards to this theory.
Below the top portion of the webpage offers the user the ability to search (anywhere) with some filters depending on check-in/check-out dates and number of guests, while also showing a few 5-star reviews with an average rating tracker to show the user how much other customers are enjoying their stays.
Further down on the home page Airbnb lists 3 prominent points to make customers feel more at ease with using their website; 24/7 customer support, global hospitality standards, and 5-star hosts. The last few things a user will see are “just booked in the United States” giving the user an idea of places others are staying. Additionally, the site offers another filtering option to search by specific dates to check availability of hosts, and at the very bottom a list of utilities. My only issue with this section of the homepage is the “when are you traveling?” filter option. It seems out of place, when just above on the same page there is a search function with the ability to narrow down your search with dates already.
Speaking of search…
This is the view when a user searches for a specific area from the home page. Filter options to the upper left, just below the search box. Along with a list of homes on the left side of the screen including price, rating and other useful information. This is all presented with a large map to show the user exactly where they will be staying. This is very fluid and clean looking, and having never used the site before I was able to immediately find everything I needed with ease.
Moving on to the check out page…
Once you are settled on the place you would like to stay and have chosen all of the necessary criteria, a pop up appears giving you several options to sign in. This is something I particularly enjoy a website having, because I often do not always want to use my email for every single site I use, thus giving me the option to sign in with Facebook is a nice add on.
Airbnb’s website design is not perfect, there are some questionable functions, such as the random date filter function mentioned above.
Another odd function of the Airbnb website is if a user clicks on the Airbnb logo (see above), the user will be taken to an alternative homepage to the website. This alternative homepage has basically all of the same functions as the original homepage, but with a different layout. Why is this an option, and why does the logo not take the user to the homepage they originally landed on when entering the website? I do not have an answer to these questions but I surely do not think they serve as a useful function to this very well designed website.
In all, it is evident that Airbnb has put time into the design, and feel of its website to allow users to naturally flow from the homepage to the check out page with ease. A website designed like this can have great impact on the users converting and coming back to the website. Although there are a few pieces to the site that I believe need to be revised, Airbnb stands out among the many websites that I have used in regards to design, navigation and simplicity and should serve as an example to future websites looking to mirror these positive aspects.
-Krug. S. Don’t Make Me Think Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web and Mobile Usability. 2014