Airbnb Shoutouts

At a glance

Shoutouts is an in-app social tool for connecting Airbnb's vast community of travellers


3-week student project

My role

User researcher
UX designer
UI designer


Clare Maglanoc
Audrey Chow


As an introduction to user research and design interactions for a senior-level course, we were given the task to design and prototype the interface for a new feature within Airbnb's existing application.

Example screens from the Shoutouts feature

Framing the problem

We started by conducting in-person interviews and survey questionnaires with 24 individuals to uncover opportunity areas. Our criteria for users was that they needed to have been an Airbnb guests who has used their services at least twice within the past year. These individuals ranged in age from 18 - 30 years old. Our insights from this initial research were:

Desktop vs mobile
Users preferred making bookings via desktop and accessing quick bits of information via mobile app

Opposing personas
Interviewees either preferred to keep to themselves while traveling, or preferred to seek out opportunities to interact with locals

Fostered relationships
The app can be used to help users meet and befriend other individuals also staying in Airbnbs.

We found this last point to be the most insightful. Currently, the app only allows guests to interact with hosts and the local experts who contribute to Experiences and Adventures, and if guests were enabled to connect with each other, this would align well with Airbnb's mission and values.

We then asked ourselves, how might we allow young adults to use Airbnb to enjoy go-with-the-flow-style travel?

At this point, we conducted a second set of and interviews and surveys with 13 more individuals. We were curious to know, (1) how young adult travellers make decisions about who they interact with online and in-person, (2) if these travellers are interested in making connections abroad, and (3) what role the internet plays in making spontaneous outings happen. What we learned from these surveys inform our persona:

Image and text describing the goals and frustrations of the target audience persona


Drawing inspiration from 'in-the-moment' social apps like Snapchat and Tinder, we were interested in finding a way to do the same within Airbnb. Due to the schedule of deliverables and other time constraints, our sketching and wireframing were restricted to a day-long sprint using whiteboards to map out the journey through our feature.

Whiteboard sketches and wireframes during design sprint Whiteboard sketches and wireframes during design sprint


We created Airbnb Shoutouts, a map-based feature that brings Airbnb travellers together. Individuals post videos taken in real-time to invite the local Airbnb community to join in on activities.

Access to Shoutouts feature


Shoutouts is about connecting travellers with other travellers. The feature is only available 24 hours prior to check-in and lasts until the final day of the guests' stay. To begin using Shoutouts, they must first create their public profile that other users will see as they interact.

Profile creation page


Use the map to find Shoutouts nearby. The feature suggests listings that within a 25km radius of the user, along with all the details of what is happening, where it's happening (if the Shoutout is public), who is hosting and attending, and how much longer it will go on for.

Map where users can access Shoutouts


Creating your own Shoutout is a simple as taking a real-time video of what you're doing at your desired location and filling out the detail prompts such as the title, theme, length of your listing, and profiles of the rest of your group (co-hosts). These videos are what will attract guests, so having fun with them and including everyone involved is encouraged.

Adding details to a Shoutout


With an active Shoutout, your listing appears first and in red on the map. If it's private, any join requests appear as persistent notifications which must be either accepted or declined. On the guest end, a notification to view the Shoutout’s location appears once you accept their request, as the host.

Receiving Shoutout notifications

My Role

With a small team of three, research and design responsibilities were split equally among us. I was responsible for conducting a handful of user interviews on my own, as well as the design and information architecture for the 'create' screens.


Since its rapid growth from 2007, Airbnb has been continuously receptive to its users' needs added many features to make their application as efficient and effective as possible. As great as this is, it complicated our ideation as we would explore the app every so often, and discover that the opportunities we thought we had were already addressed. However, by focusing on a very unique key insight, we found an intervention area that Airbnb wasn't already involved in and made it work.

We also kept in mind that because Shoutouts relies on individuals interacting with strangers, liability concerns that are difficult to tackle through interface design alone have arisen. Analyzing similar sites like and dating apps such as Tinder helped us tackle it as best we could. Equipping users with information on how to meet people safely was what we took away as the most realistic way to mitigate these risks, and provide both guests and hosts with safe and enjoyable experiences.

Next project: Kindbox * Kind Cafe