Are people serious? The Airbnb user experience is awful! I know, I know. How could a brilliant idea that grew into a $25Billion company whose UX is praised by countless, degreed, UX professionals quoting Jakob Nielsen not be good? Who am I? I’m a user that just created my first 3 listings. So, let me explain.
There are tons of posts talking about Airbnb’s frictionless flow. It seems that Airbnb eschewed any sense of logical intuitiveness in favor of handholding a user from beginning to end of a very long process. But even if you complete it with out a break, it’s redundant and inconsistent.
I needed to create 3 nearly identical listings in the same location. My intention was to make one and duplicate it but no, it doesn’t seem to have crossed their minds that a “hotel” or “bnb” has multiple rooms with identical amenities. So, I tried to create multiple listings at the same time, copying information to each in relay and progressing through the process in sync. That’s where I started to notice the bad design.
I had multiple browser tabs open to edit the 3 listings. I became lost in the tabs and realized it’s because there is no listing title on the page when editing. It’s allows you to “Save and Exit” but never asks you to give it a title. When I returned and finally got to that step, 6 screens, 40+ options, and the next section later in “Step 2”.
I realized there’s a small, blank “Preview” tab on the bottom edge of the screen that would show the title, once I reached that step. Don’t worry, once you totally finish/publish/update the listing and then edit it, there is a title at the top.
But while you’re there, Airbnb’ers generally like to sleep. When entering the sleeping accommodations you’re presented the choices below.
Now, I love the uniqueness of Airbnb listings. It’s what makes it great. But what the hell is a “floor mattress”? And who still has a waterbed in 2018? Anything missing? A service known to rent portions of rooms, couches in common areas etc… doesn’t have a FUTON option? A FUTON!!!!! Come on, Airbnb. I guarantee more people sleep on futons than waterbeds. Or, “floor mattresses”. Moving on.
Let’s talk about publishing your listing. You’d expect when you publish a product to a ecommerce store that you’d set the price, options and inventory first. When you publish a blog post you’d expect to fill in your SEO meta and publish date first. Not here. How did I have my hand held through this whole process and be asked to publish my listing without seeing availability, price, cleaning fees? That’s right, you set all of that AFTER you publish the listing. The Airbnb user experience is not what you expect.
So, now I set my availability, price, cleaning fees and more. I finally fumble through it all and am happy it’s over. I go to view my listings page and notice I’m wrong. Apparently, you’re supposed to “Update your listing” and “Add new details” to the listing that you JUST updated seconds before. Uhhhh, OK.
It turns out that ~ 90% of the “updates” are really just a review of the very first questions I was asked, almost. These are the options the first time I’m asked about amenities.
When I’m asked to update my listing, an un-checked “hot water” option is there. It would have made too much sense to include that the first time. I also noticed that when I go back to edit my completed listing, other options also appear. For example, when initially setting “Your interaction with guests” there is only a text box as seen on the left. However, when returning to edit the text, a multiple choice setting is included as seen on the right.
My Airbnb User Experience Conclusion
While this is by no means an exhaustive analysis, these are some of the confusing issues I ran into. But there are more. Airbnb is a brilliant idea that LOOKS GREAT design-wise. The Airbnb user experience is another thing entirely. Be sure to check and double-check your listing or you could end up in hot water with your guests.
Go ahead. Tell me I’m wrong.