Airbnb A/B Tests And Detects A Better Placement For Saving Properties
It looks like Airbnb just discovered a better placement for the "heart icon" that allows users to save properties to custom lists. Instead of placing the icon directly over property thumbnails (as in the control), it was A/B tested with a rightmost position of a wide listing - and eventually implemented. This might be a tiny change, but a few possible explanations came to mind as to why this turned out the way it did.
(We also have other effective patterns that have been tested on listing & search results screens.)
Highlighted UI Changes From This Leak
Icon Position Shift
Variation B shifted the save icon from over the thumbnail towards the right of the listing tile. Could this have lead to some measurable gains? If so, here is one hypothetical explanation:
Possible Explanation: More Central Position. Perhaps a more central position of the icon made it easier to interact with and save more listings. If we assume that while users scroll down a page their cursors are somewhere in the center or right of the screen (ex: near the scroll bar), having a functional save icon closer to the cursor might bridge the spacial gap - and require less time according to Fitt's Law. In other words - having functions on the very left of the screen could make them more distant and harder to interact with (would be great for someone to double check this).
As the icon shifted to the right, the thumbnail image became more visible and less obstructed. Could this have had some positive effects?
Possible Explanation: More Visible Thumbnails. Perhaps this simply means that more visible property images without any overlapping elements provide users with a better preview image that helps with their decision making. Although the overlapping icon was tiny, perhaps in some edge cases it hid some key visuals and lead to an inferior experience.
Possible Explanation: Fewer Errors. We might also notice that both the save icon and the thumbnail photo have unique functions assigned to them. The icon saves a listing, whereas the thumbnail leads to a property detail page. Perhaps when these two were being overlapped, it lead to more accidental clicks and unintentional results (ex: users trying to save but accidentally clicking on the thumbnail and going into the property itself, or vice versa).
Share Your Own Explanation
Clearly I've reverse engineered some of these explanations in a post hoc sense without actually seeing Airbnb's test result. So these explanations are more like forward hypothesis for our own future experiments to come. Nevertheless, if you have any other thoughts as to why variation B might have been better (since it was implemented after testing), then please share your comment. :)