Perfect UX writing: AirBnB 2021 UX upgrades example

Last Modified: Jun 3rd, 2021 - Category: Development, Marketing, News, Uncategorized, UX
ux writing and ux upgrades cover

AirBnB had massive UX upgrades in 2021 and they did a master class in UX writing.

The Covid 19 epidemic had a major impact on the hotel, lodging, and travel industries.

For this reason, it is not surprising that AirBnB, one of the leading companies in the industry, has adapted to these turbulent times.

Beyond the changes themselves, those of us interested in user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX) will be very interested to see how these changes are being portrayed.

To that end, AirBnB presents the changes in the video that accompanies this article. It is a great example of UX writing and how to introduce changes in a simple and friendly way.

AirBnB UI Changes

experiences and UX writing
AirBnb doesn’t sell travel or lodging. They OFFER EXPERIENCES. That’s UX writing!

In addition to the changes made to the platform and the relationship users have with it, AirBnB introduced a new user experience for its digital presence. This, of course, implies a new user interface that drastically departs from previous aesthetic guidelines to fully enter the realm of Universal UX.

Free download: Guidelines from AirBnB and other big brands.

The new version is more pleasant, with more scrolling, but still very easy to navigate. There are more images, and they have been carefully selected. For one thing, they have a high level of resolution. For another, you can notice the care because they are also representative of the multiculturalism that AirBnB strives for.

For those that already know our Quantum UX framework, this will be no news, but AirBnB uses the QUX approach: they show different versions at different times for different people. And this is not only locale based. Here you can see a UI version they had in place for me:

AirBnB Quantum UX and UX writing.
AirBnB Quantum UX and UX writing.

Now, this is another version I can see at a different time:

AirBnB Alternative UI version

The video presentation of the new user interface

The video in question is simply and entertainingly narrated, clearly explaining what the changes are and why they were made. The language is simple, there are no complicated words or terms that most people can’t understand.

Yet despite this simplicity, the changes (which are important) are explained without leaving room for doubt. There are numbers that explain the rationale behind the changes, but they are not exaggerated and in no way interrupt the flow of the message.

A master class in UX writing

AirBnB UX upgrades video is a matersclass in UX writing.

In short, the video is important because it is a master class in UX writing. This sub-discipline of UX is one that usually gets very little attention. Perhaps that’s why seeing such a well-done example of UX Writing makes us sit up and take notice.

You can see the full list of AirBnB changes here. There are more than 100 changes, all of them clearly explained with lots of images

AirBnB UX writing example
Example from the list of changes in AirBnb’s UX and UI

Video Transcript

Here’s the full transcription of the video from AirBnB

Hey everyone!
 Thanks for joining,
 I've got some exciting
 things to show you today.
 We just completed the most
 comprehensive update
 ever to the Airbnb Service.
 We have done this to get ready
 for some of the biggest changes
 that we see coming in travel.
 So first, let me take a minute
 to give you a brief history of travel.
 The word "travel"
 comes from travail,
 which means a painful 
 or laborious effort.
 And for most of history,
 travel was a struggle;
 it was work, not fun.
 But this changed 
 in the 17th century
 with the Grand Tour.
 It was a multi-year
 educational journey,
 limited to privileged sons
 of European nobility.
 So privileged, you could sit back
 while others travail for you.
 This is how travel was
 for nearly two hundred years,
 until the invention
 of the steam engine.
 Now, regular people 
 could travel by train,
 then came cars and airplanes,
 and travel took off.
 In 1950, twenty five million people 
 crossed a border to travel.
 By 2019, it reached 1.47 billion people.
 Then, suddenly, it all collapsed.
 With a global pandemic,
 international travel plummeted.
 But what is remarkable
 is what we saw next.
 After months of being stuck at home,
 millions of people got in their cars,
 and they traveled nearby to
 small towns and rural communities,
 staying in Airbnbs.
 Now, I want to pause for a moment
 and speak directly to our Hosts.
 I've heard from many of you
 around the world.
 I know how uncertain 
 and challenging it is.
 But I want to share
 my optimism with you.
 Know that it will get better.
 People are getting vaccinated.
 Travel restrictions are lifting.
 People want to connect.
 And so travel is coming back.
 In fact, we believe this will be
 the biggest travel rebound
 in a century.
 But travel will be really different than before
 because people have 
 new-found flexibility,
 as they are adopting
 remote work.
 They're less tethered.
 And because of this, we are seeing
 three fundamental trends in travel:
 First, people can travel any time,
 and we are seeing it
 on Airbnb.
 We tried an experiment
 and built an 
 expanded dates feature.
 And here it is.
 You would expand your dates
 by one, three, or seven days.
 Since January, it is been used
 a 100 million times.
 people are traveling everywhere.
 Net growth in 
 low-density urban areas,
 suburbs, and small towns
 has been accelerating
 from 26% in 2018
 to 35%, so far this year.
 And third,
 people are staying longer.
 Nearly a quarter of 
 our nights booked in Q1
 were for long-term stays,
 which are stays of longer
 than 28 days.
 You see, people aren't
 just traveling on Airbnb,
 they are now 
 living on Airbnb.
 In Seattle,
 40% of upcoming nights
 booked for this summer
 are now long-term stays.
 We're seeing similar trends
 in other urban destinations.
 43% in Los Angeles
 and 62% in
 New York City.
 You see, people
 are now traveling
 any time, everywhere,
 and staying longer.
 Travel has changed,
 and we have, too.
 So, what we've done
 is a top-to-bottom update
 to the Airbnb service.
 This is the 
 Airbnb 2021 release,
 with over 100 upgrades,
 delivering a better guest experience,
 and a better Host experience.
 Let's start with better
 guest experience.
 People are flexible about 
 where and when they travel.
 But being flexible makes searching
 on Airbnb really difficult.
 So, let's say I want to go
 to wine country.
 I type in Sonoma,
 and I add dates,
 and then I get results.
 And if I don't find exactly
 what I'm looking for,
 and I'm flexible,
 I search for 
 a few other dates,
 and I get a lot more results.
 But let's say I'm open
 to any weekend this summer,
 and I'm open to going
 anywhere in California.
 I could literally search 
 every city in California
 and end up with 
 27,000 searches.
 Summer will be over 
 before I'm done searching.
 So, we think we have
 an answer to this.
 It's a whole new way
 to search on Airbnb.
 It's called "I'm Flexible".
 And it works in three ways:
 Flexible dates,
 Flexible matching,
 and Flexible destinations.
 Let me start by showing
 you Flexible dates.
 It's been designed for guests
 with flexibility around when they travel.
 All right, let me open the app
 and give you a demo.
 And let's say
 I'm going to Sonoma.
 I just tap on Sonoma
 and this is the calendar.
 Now, the calendar's great for when
 I have a specific date in mind,
 but I'm flexible.
 So, I'm just going to tap
 "I'm flexible"
 and now I can search
 any weekend, week, or month,
 I'm going to choose a weekend,
 this summer,
 and I'm going to search.
 So, now what 
 I've just done is
 I've just searched for 
 every available home in Sonoma,
 any weekend, all summer long.
 And what you end up with 
 is a whole bunch of options
 That you would have never seen
 unless you have done 
 multiple searches.
 So, this one is available 
 June 11th to June 13th.
 This is available 
 August 6th to August 8th.
 So, if I'd done a search
 like August 25th to 29th,
 I wouldn't have seen 
 any of these.
 So, I'm going to add some filters.
 I'm going to refine this down.
 So, let's add a price filter,
 and I'm going to
 add some amenities.
 So, I'm going to 
 add Wi-Fi, pool,
 and let's go 
 with a hot tub.
 And I'm going to 
 bring my dog
 just not in the hot tub
 with me.
 But now I've just filtered
 from hundreds of listings
 down to four.
 So, what I just did 
 was over-filter
 and ran out of options.
 Now, this happens a lot,
 but we've found 
 a solution for this too.
 It is called Flexible matching,
 and let me show you how it works.
 So, let's pick up 
 where I left off.
 I over-filtered.
 And it only yielded 
 four exact matches.
 This is the problem 
 with fixed search.
 With Flexible matching,
 we show you 186 results now.
 So, you have a lot more
 to choose from.
 So, how do we do it?
 Well, flexible matching 
 includes listings
 that lie just outside 
 my search parameters,
 like Richard and Wendy's place here.
 Now, this has everything 
 I searched for,
 but it's missing a hot tub.
 We still show you this result, now.
 Or this country retreat,
 it is just a little
 above the price filter.
 So, that's flexible matching.
 It shows you more options
 that are just outside of your search parameters.
 Now, for Hosts,
 this will be great,
 because it will surface your listing
 more frequently to guests.
 Now, we also know 
 that some guests are flexible,
 not only about when they're going,
 but where they're going.
 So, today we are introducing
 Flexible destinations.
 It's a new way
 to discover unique stays
 you didn't even think 
 to search for.
 So, I'm going to open the app.
 and below "Where are you going?"
 we have this new button:
 "I'm flexible".
 So, let's go to
 "I'm flexible".
 This is a completely new way
 to explore Airbnb.
 Now, you're going to notice,
 here at the top,
 we organize not by location,
 but by category of homes.
 So, you have treehouses and farms,
 amazing pools…
 You can see there
 is so many up here.
 Let's just start.
 Let's browse a few of these.
 So, these are treehouses,
 and you are going to notice
 that we actually organize 
 the treehouses by locations.
 So, this one is 
 55 miles away.
 This one's 680 miles away,
 if you want to go a little further.
 You can go here
 in British Colombia.
 Or you get boats,
 literally live on the water.
 Look at these.
 These are some incredible boats,
 like this one in Washington.
 We have cabins.
 We actually have tens of thousands
 of cabins on Airbnb.
 They have got 
 really cool architecture.
 We have got an entire collection
 of A-frame homes
 like this one in Oakhurst, California.
 We have tiny homes.
 We have yurts.
 I didn't even know
 what a yurt was.
 I thought these were
 just fancy tents,
 but yurts, are these really cool
 kind of mini architectural wonders.
 A lot of them are handmade,
 and they are really, really cool.
 So, we have barns.
 You could stay in a desert.
 Oh, look at this‚ islands!
 Boom! Look at that!
 Private islands.
 You could have your own 
 private island on Airbnb.
 And one of the things
 you are going to notice
 is all of the photos,
 are of private islands.
 These are all actually 
 private islands.
 Now, we use structured data 
 to organize our listings
 into these categories
 to ensure they're accurate.
 And this is really, it’s really cool…
 You can explore 
 all over the world.
 We have castles, lighthouses.
 you can literally live off the grid.
 if you want to live in a lake house,
 A vineyard.
 We have caves.
 Who doesn't want 
 to live in a cave?
 Or a shipping container…
 You never walk by one of those
 and said, "I want to live there?"
 So, where are these islands?
 I'm just going to tap on the map
 and here they are.
 You can see these private islands
 are all over North America.
 The really cool thing
 about Flexible locations
 is it uses a combination 
 of your location data
 and structured data to search
 the best listings in each category.
 And you're going to notice
 that the map radius changes as I tap.
 So, when I go here 
 to beachfront,
 look what happens.
 It shows homes
 just on the water,
 It picks the coast of California,
 because it knows I'm in California.
 But if I go to nature lodges,
 it takes a wider radius.
 So, now we are going back
 to North America.
 Amazing pools goes even narrower.
 And farms…
 farms takes kind of a 
 north-western radius.
 So, I'm going to take a look
 at some of these farms.
 And you'll see again,
 these are all based 
 on my location.
 Thanks to location data
 and structured data,
 if you are in South Africa
 you'll see a totally 
 different collection of farms.
 The categories change too.
 If you're in Spain, 
 you see castles;
 in the U.K.,
 you see lighthouses;
 in Japan, you see ryokans;
 in Portugal, you see windmills;
 in Italy, you see trullos;
 And eventually, on Mars,
 we'll show you biodomes,
 with sunset views and free parking.
 All right, so I'm going to go back
 to the farms near me.
 And I really feel like spending 
 the summer with some alpacas.
 So, I'm going to tap on this 
 Alpaca Farm and Gardens Retreat.
 And ah, it is hosted by Julie, here.
 She's a Superhost.
 …and let's just scroll down.
 I want to take a look 
 at the reviews.
 I mean, this is basically 
 almost a perfect rating
 after 155 reviews.
 And we made it 
 even easier to book.
 So, I'm going to reserve this.
 And just tap here.
 And I'm going to basically live
 with some alpacas this summer.
 Flexible destinations 
 will be live June 30th.
 So that's "I'm flexible"
 with three new ways
 to search on Airbnb.
 Now, these are just three
 of dozens of upgrades
 that we have made 
 for our guests.
 I'd like to show you how we have
 improved the Host experience.
 Our Hosts are everyday people.
 Nearly 90% of our 
 4 million Hosts
 are individuals,
 not professionals.
 55% of them are women.
 They are global and diverse,
 and they come from 
 all walks of life.
 From students to retirees,
 they're artists, nurses, and teachers.
 We made it even easier
 for anyone to become a Host.
 Now, this is going to be really, really 
 important as travel rebounds,
 and many people try 
 hosting for the first time.
 And it starts with an all-new
 Host welcome page.
 It's a simple, clear 
 introduction to hosting.
 So, now let me show you
 just how easy it is
 to list your space.
 I'm going to start
 by listing a house.
 Now, I'm not going to list
 the house I live in now.
 I think I'm going to list
 my parents' house
 in Niskayuna in New York.
 I don't think 
 they would mind.
 And I think more people 
 should visit Niskayuna.
 A lot of people
 are saying that
 Niskayuna is the new Paris.
 And so I'm going
 to take you back to the late '90s.
 25 years ago, to my childhood house,
 and you can relive my childhood.
 So, let's list my house.
 Here we are.
 We allow you to pick 
 what kind of home you live in.
 Now, it's not a shepherd's hut exactly, 
 definitely not a chalet,
 Now, look up here.
 if I need help at any point,
 I can just click on "Help"
 and this drawer opens up.
 I can learn from a Superhost
 with an online class,
 or have a one-on-one session.
 We'll just go
 with residential home.
 I'm going to 
 list the entire home.
 I'm sure they won't mind
 moving out for a little bit.
 So, now let's add my address.
 23-21 River Road,
 Niskayuna is…
 some people call it 
 "Nisky" for short.
 Looks good.
 and here we are, 
 right on River Road,
 intersecting this wonderful stream.
 It's a great destination
 for travelers.
 And here we are.
 Now, look what just happened.
 This imported the right number
 of bedrooms and baths.
 And the reason 
 we were able to do this
 is that we were able to take publicly available
 real estate data
 and import them
 to save Hosts extra steps.
 And it adds the amenities
 of my house.
 We have a pool.
 Now, it's not heated.
 so any pool in Niskayuna 
 is really an ice bath,
 but it's good if 
 you have swelling in your body.
 Here we are, an indoor
 fireplace, a kitchen.
 I'm going to add Wi-Fi.
 We kind of have Wi-Fi.
 We have free parking
 We have air conditioning,
 We have a smoke alarm and,
 yeah, I had a lock
 on my door.
 You needed that growing up.
 Now, this is cool.
 I'm going to add some photos.
 Hold on, let me let me 
 show you this.
 Let's take a look at some 
 of the photos of me growing up.
 So, this is
 my family room.
 You’ve got some 
 nice memorabilia.
 The living room, three rocking chairs,
 so the whole family
 could rock together.
 Here's my childhood bedroom.
 You're going to see
 my drafting table,
 where I used to draw 
 and design on the right.
 Here is the view of my bed.
 That's the bed that 
 you'll sleep in.
 It's actually a bed that 
 was made for a tiny child.
 All right, here we go.
 You have the great one.
 My idol growing up,
 Wayne Gretsky, looking over you 
 while you sleep.
 And some old rusty skates.
 You probably can't fit
 your feet in them,
 but here you are.
 We're going to drag them, drop them.
 Now, this next thing is pretty cool.
 Because what we do is 
 we use machine learning
 to automatically analyze
 each photo for quality.
 And then we place them in the 
 optimal order to boost their appeal.
 So, here we go.
 Look at this.
 It knew to put the
 triple rocking chair photo
 and we knew to make
 that one the primary photo.
 So, now I'm going to keep going,
 and I’m going to come up with a title.
 Now, we pre-populated a title here.
 It said, "cheerful, four-bedroom,
 residential home with a pool."
 So, we really try to come up
 with a title for you,
 but I think I can be
 a little more creative.
 And I think the word "cheerful"…
 I don't want to over-promise.
 So, let’s see Niskayuna,
 known as "Nisky".
 I think I might go with
 "Nisky Business"
 Let's go with
 "Nisky Business".
 So, there we go.
 I think it is going to be nice.
 Mom and Dad 
 are going to love this.
 Now, we can choose attributes.
 This helps you
 write a description.
 So, I'm going to go with unique,
 and you know, I'm going to say stylish.
 I think that certainly had
 some style.
 Now, we have a place getting started.
 I'm going to say, 
 "Come stay in Niskayuna
 (some say the new Paris)
 where my Mom can make you 
 a quiche in the morning
 and yell at you at night
 to do your homework."
 All right, there we go.
 And now last thing is
 we offer a price criteria.
 I'm going to try to get 
 some business.
 I really want to fill 
 this house for my parents.
 They're going to love 
 all these guests.
 And a few more questions.
 We have a security camera.
 We don't have any weapons.
 We do have a golden retriever
 I don't think she counts
 as a dangerous animal.
 I'm going to 
 publish the listing.
 Here we go.
 Here's the preview.
 "Nisky Business"
 in famous Niskayuna, New York,
 the soon-to-be 
 international travel destination.
 And I'm going to publish it.
 And here we are.
 Here we are.
 And welcome.
 Congratulations, Brian!
 I congratulate myself. Awesome!
 And here I am with 
 my parents' dog Sandy.
 And that's it.
 So, once you list,
 it's very likely
 that you'll get booked.
 In fact, for new listings that were 
 activated and booked in Q1 2021
 half received a reservation 
 within 4 days of activation.
 For existing Hosts,
 we've created better tools 
 to help them succeed.
 We've made dozens
 of upgrades.
 Let me just show you a few.
 Now, here's the updated
 Host side of the app.
 Let me start by 
 showing you the new tabs.
 "Profile" is now "Menu".
 "Performance" is renamed "Insights".
 Now, "Listings" was not 
 commonly used by Hosts.
 So, we put "Listings" under "Menu".
 With "Inbox", it's now up to
 10 times faster.
 And completely redesigned,
 with features like "Scheduled messages" 
 and "Quick replies".
 And finally, we freed up some space
 for a brand new feature
 we call the "Today Tab".
 The "Today Tab" shows Hosts 
 what they need to do, today,
 in one place.
 For new Hosts, we help you prepare
 prepare for your guests,
 and customize your calendar, pricing,
 and set other controls you need.
 You'll also find relevant articles, and
 you can learn from Superhosts
 in an online class or,
 one-on-one session.
 For existing Hosts, the "Today Tab" 
 personalizes for them as well.
 Oh, look! It tells me 
 I have a reservation.
 Is, is that Wayne Gretsky
 who's just booked
 my Nisky Business?
 All right, well I guess he's going to be staying 
 in my tiny childhood bedroom.
 We have a 
 "Next steps for you" section
 where you can track local trends
 and fine-tune your pricing.
 And, we also customized articles
 and videos for existing Hosts.
 Not only have we improved 
 our tools for our Hosts,
 we've also improved 
 community support.
 We've heard from our Hosts that
 last year our community support 
 wasn't where it should be.
 After our business dropped,
 we reduced the size of our 
 community support team,
 and we did not have enough agents
 to be prepared for the rebound.
 So, this year, we have doubled the
 number of support agents.
 This allows us to be faster 
 and more responsive
 when you need help.
 We've also more than tripled
 the number of languages 
 we provide support in.
 Before, you could get support
 in 11 languages.
 Now, you can get support 
 when you need it in 42 languages.
 We heard you Iceland.
 Finally, for our best Hosts,
 we're introducing 
 dedicated Superhost support
 with priority service from our 
 most experienced support agents.
 This means fewer transfers,
 fewer escalations,
 and more authority 
 to resolve issues for you.
 This will be available to 
 all Superhosts in North America
 by September 30th,
 and will be available worldwide to Superhosts
 by December 15th.
 So, those are just some of the highlights 
 from the Airbnb 2021 release.
 And you'll find them 
 all listed on our website.
 And here they all are.
 Flexibility designed for 
 the new world of travel.
 A simpler and more inspiring 
 guest experience.
 Literally, there's dozens of 
 upgrades just for guests here.
 Easier ways to host,
 from sign-up to Superhost,
 with a new welcome page,
 become a Host in 10 steps,
 and the "Today Tab".
 And finally, world-class support
 for our global community,
 with upgrades like the 
 redesigned Help Center,
 dedicated to Superhost support, 
 and expansion to 42 languages.
 You can learn more about 
 each of these upgrades
 Now, we've just talked about 
 100 new upgrades
 that will make Airbnb better.
 But the one thing that makes 
 Airbnb really magical
 hasn't changed a bit.
 I'd like to end with a story,
 a story about a boy named Rio.
 Rio likes cowboys,
 and thanks to Rob,
 Rio gets to be a cowboy,
 at least for the weekend,
 because Rob is a Host
 who owns a tiny house
 on a gigantic ranch
 in Sandy Valley, Nevada.
 For the next few days,
 Rio will roam the open frontier.
 He'll tame wild stallions,
 prospect for gold,
 and chase down 
 the bad guys.
 He'll even learn 
 that being a cowboy
 is pretty hard work.
 The days are long,
 the nights are cold,
 and the best way to stay warm
 is to stay together.
 Rob and his tiny house
 made it possible for Rio
 to find his wild, wild west.
 And every day, guests 
 all around the world
 are also experiencing
 new possibilities,
 thanks to their Hosts.
 Possibilities for connection,
 for discovery,
 for joy,
 for love.
 Yes, travel is changing,
 but what people 
 have always needed,
 those things will never change,
 and they'll always be made possible by Hosts. 

The UX takeaway

I’m sure you’ll agree this is an excellent example of UX writing. Short and simple sentences, providing the exact amount of information, without overwhelming the user.

I hope you enjoyed this article and learned something! At least I know I did!

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