This conceptual project was a response to Airbnb’s design exercise and the idea derived from a one-star review in App Store. A research-driven, data-backed design process helped arrive a holistic pet-free home booking experience.


Design Challenge Description

Reimagine and redesign a digital product of your choice that showcases your skills and abilities to solve a complex problem as a designer. You can choose to design for any platform, but keep in mind the challenges that you might face designing for different platforms, especially for mobile.

Problem Identification

Idea Gathering

  1. Key Lock Box / Smart Lock Check-in

    This idea was based on one of my Airbnb experiences in Mexico. The host was out of town and gave the keys to whom I just could not find when I arrived.

  2. Smart Home Devices Control Sharing

    The idea of sharing smart locks control with guests led to the idea of sharing the control of other smart home devices to bring the living experience to the next level.

  3. Pet-free Home Filter

    After read all the reviews in Apple App Store and Google Play store, I found this invaluable 1-star rating review —


After comparing the impact and effort of each idea and considering the fact that I only have 5 days, I decided to work on the Pet-free home filter.

Guests with pet allergies are having a hard time to find pet-free homes on Airbnb.


Pet Allergies

How many people have pet allergies?
10% of the U.S. population has pet allergies. —

How many homes have pets?
In the United States, nearly 40 and 33% of households own dogs and cats, respectively. — Animal Allergens and Their Presence in the Environment

How harmful are pet allergies?
Typical allergy symptoms range from relatively minor afflictions like watering eyes to more serious reactions such as anaphylactic shock, which can start with dizziness and loss of consciousness but may quickly lead to heart failure and even death. — Pet Allergies 101

The complexity of pet allergies

  • Some people are only allergic to cats
  • Others are only allergic to dogs
  • Still others are allergic to both
  • Few people allergic to other pets


Experience Design

Data-informed Design

Research on Indoor Pet Allergens

Indoor pet sensitization rates in general population:

  • Cat sensitization rates: 12.2%
  • Dog sensitization rates: 11.9%
  • Rat sensitization rates: 1.4%
  • Rat sensitization rates: 1.4%

Research on Indoor Pet Allergens

The correlation between cat allergy and dog allergy is 78% base on the data I found. In other words, 78% of all the cat-allergic and dog-allergic people are allergic to both. This means the “cat-free” and “dog-free” filter options only work for about 2.7% and 2.6% of the population. So, I decided just to show a “pet-free” option in the home filters.

List Order Prioritization

A recent infographic shows that there were about 3.3 million wheelchair users in U.S. in 2015, and the population of U.S. in 2015 is about 321.4 million. Therefore, the percentage of wheelchair users in the general population is less than 1%. This is dramatically less than the percentage of allergic population, which is about 10% as mentioned before. So, I decided to put “Pet-free” before “Wheelchair accessible”.


Besides of home filters, another place to help people identify pet-free homes is on the home detail page. The existing design shows an “Amenities” list for each home, which includes things like TV, Wifi, Wheelchair accessible, etc. This is also a great place to add “Pet-free”, and the only missing part is an icon for “Pet-free” that matches the current icon style.

Prototyping & Usability Test

I would like to conduct following usability test if I had more time, and then iterate the designs based on the results:

  1. Book a pet-free home
  2. Confirm a given home is pet-free on its home detail page

Final Thoughts

The pet-free home filter idea seemed like the least ambitious idea among the three. However, it is this kind of tiny improvement that makes a digital product more human and inclusive.

The minority usually needs to do tons of extra work to stand on the same stage or to have the same rights as the majority. It is our designers responsibility to give more thoughtfulness and care to them.