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5 Web Design And Usability Lessons You Can Learn From Airbnb

5 Web Design And Usability Lessons You Can Learn From Airbnb

Usability is probably one of the most important thing to consider while thinking about getting your web design and your business to the next level.

Many books are treating this subject and many great example exist on the World Wide Web… But as a busy marketer, you’d probably be pumped to get a nice summary of the most efficient usability tips out there and see it on a practical example, right?

Guess what… that’s exactly what we did for you in this article: we analyzed the UX of one of the most successful online marketplace: AirBnb!

Lesson 1: Focus on clarity and keep in mind that “Less Is More”

If you want to make a clear and marketable web layout, the first thing that you should consider is the simplicity of the design. Avoid adding unnecessary embellishments that will only serve to distract your visitors from their initial objective. Likewise, make sure that your content and design are specifically curated for your specific target market.

The key is to make sure that the structure of your website can offer enough guidance for any new users. A webpage that is easy to navigate means that it will also be easier to display all of your wares and encourage a sale.


At AirBnb you can discover it straight from their home page. The overall feeling is minimalist, their use of images and videos in the background allows them to make you feel like traveling and their tagline clearly explains what they do: ‘Rent unique places to stay from local hosts in 190 countries’. Every single word is important and all distractions avoided.


Lesson 2: Focus on building your credibility

 Another aspect that you should consider in your web design is reinforcing its credibility as a legitimate online business that offers reliable content, services, or products. Aside from having a page that contains any pertinent information regarding your credentials, and contact and location details, it is also recommended that you have a comments or customer feedback section that will allow visitors to interact with you. Including a link to a social media account will also help reinforce your status as a very visible brand that can easily be accessed through various channels.


Airbnb’s main challenge has always been to gain the trust of its visitors and give them confidence about testing their disruptive way of traveling. As explained is the great article “How Design Thinking Transformed Airbnb from a Failing Startup to a Billion Dollar Business“, the only fact that they replaced amateurs pictures with beautiful high-resolution pictures was a turning point in their business.

Even though they are now well-known around the world, and as shown in the image above, they still focus on this credibility and show it all around their website.


Lesson 3: Always keep your business goals and objectives in mind

 During web development and conceptualization, you should ensure that you clearly enumerate your business goals and objectives. Before you even think about the design of your website, you should ensure that all relevant marketing questions and requirements are answered. After all, building on a strong framework will benefit not only yourself, but it will also enhance the user experience of your visitors.

Even though the navigation on Airbnb is fluid and the design is well thought, they never forget to lead their visitors to their objective of booking. As the examples show in the images below, they do not miss any occasion to present alternatives to the visitors nor to showcase relevant “call-to-actions”.



Lesson 4: Know your target market

Familiarize yourself with the particular reasons they have for visiting your site and strive to provide them with the pertinent information or service that they are looking for. Ultimately, any content that you add to your website must serve to facilitate a satisfying user experience.

If you are catering to a wide range of customers, then it is recommended that you organize your content or services for easier navigation. Aside from categorizing content according to gender, you can also opt to organize content according to age, subject matter, purpose, etc. The main categories can even become more comprehensive by also including any relevant sub classifications.

Airbnb’s focus is on showing its trusted community and make people feel good about it. This is the feeling you have while visiting the website and that is reinforced through the use of the pictures illustrating their web design.



Lesson 5: It is all about Testing!

In the end, a good website designis not something that you can achieve in one try. Often, constant revision and research is required in order to come up with an effective user interface. After all, consumer tastes are continuously changing. Therefore, it is in your best interest to ask and ensure that you have answered all of your marketing questions and concerns before you even think about designing your website.

In that matter, I would strongly suggest you to read How Experiments Are Done at Airbnb. They are quite impressive in their metric-driven approach and clearly do not rely on “gut feeling”.



As a conclusion, businesses have to work even harder in order to not only keep up with the times but to fight to stay relevant. It is only by anticipating consumer demands and adjusting marketing strategies accordingly that online businesses can refine their webpages and satisfy all of their customer’s needs.

What do you guys think about their practices? Any things you thought about?

Would love to hear your takes on that!  🙂

About Nicolas Finet

Nicolas is a web marketer with a solid technical knowledge and co-Founder at Sortlist. He is focused on growth, deploying talent and efforts to make it always faster. He stimulates Sortlist’s strategy in line with the strong market and business insights he possesses.
  • http://www.vacationinsiders.com/ Andy

    Hi Nicolas, interesting and very relevant points. Airbnb are always really visually striking, and I love their recent full page moving images, that’s really clever. Any idea how they do that?

    • http://www.sortlist.com Nicolas

      Hey Andy,

      I totally agree with you, they are really clever!

      I believe the quality of their recruiting and their data-driven approach is key in their success.

      Their “nerd” blog is definitely a must check: http://nerds.airbnb.com/ 🙂

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