Journey 16:9

User Personas at HomeAway

Travel reimagined

It was 2017 and pretty much time to update how much we know about our primary users - Homeowners and Property Managers. HomeAway is serving traveler demand with more than 2M properties in 193 countries. So many properties, so many people, so many unique stories...

User Personas Research and Design Effort span across in-house research team located in  Austin and London, and 6 months of close collaboration between research, design, and development to make the knowledge accessible internally to all stakeholders, designers and developers to keep in mind when a product or a feature gets created, updated or improved.

Why we wanted that? HomeAway deeply cares about the success of homeowners and travelers therefore knew it had to get to know them on another level. What so homeowners aim for, what inspires them to provide best in class traveler experience, how can we tell them how to make more money through humanized language, what are the key metrics that will help them to be more competitive and successful pursuing their dreams. What and how we should talk to owners and what is our voice and tone in that conversation. How can we help designers design better?


  1. Art Direction

  2. Content Strategy
  3. Internal Persona Website Design

  4. Collateral materials

  5. Company-wide User Persona workshop Support


Quant + Qual = 5 Personas

Anticipation-full &         friction-less

Personas were created with real data and then extensively reviewed by panels of cognitive scientists—all so you can build with the utmost confidence while using them. We’re committed to evolving our personas as the data evolves, so our personas will always be highly relevant tools that you can use to advance your designs.

Desktop HD


How can design inform transition homeowners go through as they mature as a business or what happens if their goal changes? What is the best user journey for THAT user at THAT time in THAT context?

An interactive spinning motivation wheel was designed to give designers, stakeholders, and developers a quick overview of how motivation is different for each persona. Each type was supported by a quote so people could easily grasp differences.



Choose a shape. Commit.

Location of the vacation rental and the primary home influences a lot of VR habits and attitudes. This means that location and the distance determining whether the owner will hire a housekeeper or commute to the VR themselves.

Contrast is important not only for colors to pass AA, a contrast of shapes makes it easier to recognize what is a button, what is not a button. Move away from ambiguous stuff, make your customer's way to the perfect vacation place, destination perfectly clear. For this project I moved away from semi-round corners, I commit to round shaped buttons and square everything else.



What date is today?

Numbers show how many people are within each bucket and the value they bring to the business, it also shows the most critical problems to fix to help people enjoy the experience. And very often numbers show that the smallest group of people brings the biggest part of revenue. It also shows average age to address the accessibility standards and potential issues.

Every time I looked up the calendar I wondered, what date is today? that same question is raised in a traveler's head. Let's help them find themselves in the today moment to plan for the future.

Top level Persona insight

An emotional journey is a visualization that maps and illustrates a user’s emotional experience through the experience of interacting with an organization, product or brand. User emotional journey shows delightful moments, pain points, and frustrations at the given part of the experience - login, search results, booking...

What language is used gives the right or the wrong notion around what is about to happen. Is it continuous action or an amazing find? 


The internal website allows everyone at HomeAway quickly get a feel on major differences between each persona and drill down for more incremental insights and a potential way of designing for each.

01 – Web – Persona – Home@2x@1x

The personas have been created, the entire company got to know it's everyday heroes - homeowners, property managers across the entire globe. But the work will never stop learning, bettering experience through meaningful research & data channels.

02 – Web – Persona – RevMAx

I'm forever thankful for the excellence of our teams I was fortunate to be a part of. Truly an honor!

Instead of making a traveller read reviews we can just pick the keyword and quantitative summary of it, so in this case a traveler does not have to read hundreds of reviews, it's just that "67% of people say that it's really close to downtown", or "78% of people said wifi was slow". And you can scroll through all reviews without leaving this page. Additionally, reviews have framework: What was good, what could be better, and additional notes. So the traveler does not stare at the blank review and wonders what makes a good review.