Designing for trust
with airbnb

As a part of the Bay Area Immersion Program’s Service Design studio, we worked with Airbnb on a project that revolved around designing trust for new hosts on the platform. Due to a lack of credibility cues or trust indicators (such as past reviews), new hosts on Airbnb suffer from a lack of bookings, translating to millions of dollars lost in potential revenue.

Team: Lauren Lee, Idrees Kamal, & Jasmine Teng


Discovery + research

  • Through multiple extensive user interviews, we learned numerous key insights about trust signals, security, and guest-host interaction.

  • (1) New hosts are not incentivized to fill out their profiles completely, although guests derive more trust from more complete profiles.

  • (2) Guests tend to avoid booking from new hosts, are more concerned about mismatched expectations than physical safety, and want photo evidence to support promises.

  • (3) Guests prioritize price and location, and typically only read host profiles when there are no reviews for the listing. Increased communication with the host also helps guests to increase trust.



  • To further define the users and synthesize our findings, we developed guest and host personas, stakeholder maps, and guest and host journey maps to help us empathize better.

  • From there, we developed our critical how might we question: how might we incentivize guests to increase interaction with new hosts on the platform?


Ideate + Build

  • The next step in the process was to ideate, storyboard, and refine potential solutions. We generated over 150 ideas for our how might we questions, consolidated these into three common themes, and created storyboards that would illustrate the experience.


Test + Iterate 

  • After generating storyboards, we created service blueprints for our prototypes and built out mock prototypes for three solutions we believed most viable by looking at the specific needs that we tried to tackle in our prototypes.

  • From these, we derived three core needs that we focused on in our final prototype: clarification, relatability, and communication.

The current new host profile.

The current new host profile.

The redesigned new host profile.

The redesigned new host profile.


Going forward…

  • This was an interesting project in tackling the crucial concept of designing for trust. For us, next steps would entail expanding on the new host profile and integrating it further into the listing itself so that it appears seamless. Furthermore, we wanted to explore the communications aspect further and consider ways to avoid fraud on the platform.

  • As a designer, I was forced to contemplate each design decision in recreating the new host profile; each design cue had to be crucial to engineering trust on the platform. In the future, I’d like to use this knowledge to explore web-based product design even more, using my background in Adobe XD and familiarity with the iterative design process.