Prior to beginning this design sprint, we had already created a basic style guide, that we called the foundation. This foundation loosely defined our typography, colors, icons, spacing and information architecture. The foundation proved essential for guiding our work in a unified direction while allowing room for us to individually explore creative design solutions. This way we felt that we were all working together, towards the same idea. Reviewing our collective work at the end of each day, we began to see patterns emerge. We course-corrected when necessary, and started defining our standardized components.
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American will add a sixth destination in Cuba with a new daily flight from Miami International Airport (MIA) to Antonio Maceo Airport (SCU) in Santiago de Cuba starting May 3. The airline will also start new service from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to Durango International Airport (DGO) in Mexico starting June 6. American will be the only U.S. carrier to serve DGO and SCU.
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Airbnb is an American home rental platform based in San Francisco that lets people list, find, and rent short-term lodging in 65,000 cities and more than 191 countries across the globe. Founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk, it has done more than any other company to change the way people find places to stay away from home. In recent years, Airbnb has evolved its peer-to-peer model to give hosts the tech tools they need to run a seamless, sophisticated operation. More than 40% of Airbnb listings are now available via Instant Book, allowing guests to make reservations much as they would a hotel booking, and a new check-in tool automatically feeds arrival instructions to them via the app. The company has also expanded into Business Travel Ready listings, which offer travelers a designated work space, guaranteed Wi-Fi, and more. Now valued at $31 billion, the company is also helping travelers explore the world outside their rentals. In 2016, Airbnb launched Trips, a service that lures travelers out of their rentals for local tours and adventures in 20 countries and 30 cities around the globe. And in an effort to address humanitarian issues, Airbnb launched an Open Homes program in 2017 that allows hosts to offer housing to refugees, displaced travelers, and those seeking shelter after disasters.
Airbnb believes that AWS saved it the expense of at least one operations position. Additionally, the company states that the flexibility and responsiveness of AWS is helping it to prepare for more growth. Knaup says, “We’ve seen that Amazon Web Services listens to customers’ needs. If the feature does not yet exist, it probably will in a matter of months. The low cost and simplicity of its services made it a no-brainer to switch to the AWS cloud.”
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While creating these components, we collected them in a master file called the library, which we referred to throughout the design process. After a week or two we began to see huge leaps in productivity by using the library when iterating on designs. One day, while putting together a last-minute prototype, our team was able to create nearly 50 screens within just a few hours by using the framework our library provided.
Each component is defined by it’s required elements (such as title, text, icon and picture), and may sometimes contain optional elements. These elements are both defined in the Sketch document as well as in code. Instead of allowing divider lines themselves, we require each component to have a divider, which is then visible or hidden based on on the view logic.
Airbnb was able to complete its entire database migration to Amazon RDS with only 15 minutes of downtime. This quick transition was very important to the fast-growing Airbnb because it did not want its community of users to be shut out of its marketplace for an extended period of time. Tobi Knaup, an engineer at Airbnb says, “Because of AWS, there has always been an easy answer (in terms of time required and cost) to scale our site.”
Documentation. This project required us to operate within a tight timeline, which caused us to overlook some of the documentation process. Lacking thorough documentation created some confusion that could have been avoided. Just like with coding, documenting systems as they are created is paramount to the process. It has to be done sooner or later, and documenting throughout the creation process allows for smoother decision-making.
Due to the growth of international end-users, in early 2012, Airbnb opened offices in Paris, Milan, Barcelona, Copenhagen, Moscow, and São Paulo. These openings were in addition to existing offices in San Francisco, London, Hamburg, and Berlin. In September 2013, the company announced that it would establish its European headquarters in Dublin. Prior to the 2012 Summer Olympics, Airbnb acquired London-based rival CrashPadder, subsequently adding 6,000 international listings to its existing inventory. This acquisition made Airbnb the largest lodging website in the United Kingdom.