HouseTrip is an online holiday rental platform that connects European homeowners wanting to rent their properties, with holidaymakers seeking accommodation. The Swiss-based company has offices in London and Lisbon and is ranked as one of Europe's 100 hottest startups by Wired Magazine, while The Times lists it as one of the top 50 travel websites.
With more than 330 000 property listings on its database, HouseTrip is one of the largest online holiday rental websites in the world. Having grown at such a rapid rate, I was approached by Ruby Digital to improve the site’s user experience, and to overhaul its blog, which had become dated and was detracting from the brand’s high-end image.
As lead designer on this project, it was important for me to understand the mindsets of the site’s frequent visitors and active users. I wanted to know what articles interested them, and what countries the client wanted to focus on.
A data and insight-sharing meeting with the client helped me gather the intelligence I needed to map key points for user experience redesign and redevelopment.
Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.
The User Interface Design
A beautiful, new selection of images and an innovative, new image display format formed a big part of the redesign. The use of visually arresting travel imagery is hardly surprising, given the fact that human beings fall as deeply in love with places, as they do with people.
Applying the user data insights, I scaled down the destination focus to three cities: London, Paris and Barcelona. This design decision impacted the site’s navigation, with the addition of a new drop down in the Navbar. Another enhancement was to provide sticky and shareable user content – in the form of popular blog posts and travel videos – above the fold.
I provided users with an emotionally uplifting journey of exploration and discovery; a journey that ultimately leads to an easy decision-making process around destination and venue booking.
I thoroughly enjoyed working with Ruby Digital on this project. Together, we achieved an effective user-centric design in just a few days. Working fast and smart enabled the dev team to meet its deployment date.
With this new and improve user interface design, HouseTrip will be able to build a strong and lasting relationship with it's users.
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