Updated: Feb 13, 2019
Prompt: Design a mobile product for Millennials to assist in finding the ideal roommate in New York City. Identify key pain points in finding and keeping a good roommate, focus on safety issues, and consider the experience for both someone that is looking for a roommate as well as one looking for an apartment.
I started with a quick brainstorming session. What factors did I think potential roommates would care about when searching for a good match? I ended up with a list of primary and secondary points regarding personality fit, the space itself, and general policies. I waffled a bit trying to determine how to define which points fell under primary vs secondary, and ultimately defined primary as the things crucial to developing a simple profile, with secondary points falling under a higher level of detail and personal preference.
I knew that I wanted something familiar for the connection process, and a swipe-to-match feature fit the bill. Giving users the ability to view the primary points for one another at a glance, and being able to expand their profile to see secondary points would allow me to maintain a clean design, while giving users the information they needed to make an informed decision about a potential roommate or tenant.
I also needed to think about safety, and there were a couple of potential avenues to this. We're talking about Generation Y and, in general, social media plays a large role in this group's lives. Since 60 minutes isn't enough time for research, I reflected on my personal comfort levels with social media, and felt like while seeing someone else's social profiles would give me an increased sense of security, I also wouldn't be comfortable sharing my social handles with anyone and everyone. The solution here seemed to be to prompt users to add their social information during the onboarding process, and to show them whether or not they have mutual friends as they search through potential roommates and tenants. When a match is reached, only then is the user given information about their matches social platforms.
I started to develop low-fidelity wireframes from here, focusing on the onboarding process for someone that is renting a room out of the apartment that they themselves live in.
Putting (digital) pen to paper let me start mapping out what the user experience could look like. I wanted to give users the tools to be as specific as they like, but also keep the onboarding process from becoming cumbersome.
On the 'putting up a room' side, this meant putting critical information at the forefront. I wanted to make sure that users included the basics, such as the rent per month, availability date, and renting limitations. An expanded menu lets them add in information on amenities, smoking policies, and more. The next screen prompts for basic information on other roommates, asks the lister whether or not they are one of the roommates (in order to know whether or not to prompt them to develop a profile) as well as asking for at least one photo of the space itself. A further screen, which did not get developed in the wireframes, could ask to link the space with profiles of other roommates.
Then, I moved to the 'searching for a roommate' side. To keep things from being too messy, I opted for icons that a user can choose to define their interests rather than having them type in content in these inputs. This allows for clearer searching, as well as consistency and better recognition for frequent users.
Afterwards, users move into the process of swiping to match. They are initially presented with a name, age, photo, and the icons selected by the other user. Tapping the 'show more' button opens to their more complete profile, including their personal bio, occupation, education, etc.
Once a match is reached, users are prompted to 'say hi' or continue matching. The 'say hi' feature then takes them to a standard chat window, where they can go back and view the profile of the other user by tapping on their name at the top of the screen. I did not wireframe the main chat screen, since I envisioned a pretty standard approach here.
At this point, I only had about 10 minutes left to complete the exercise, so I opted to list out the other thoughts I had about the platform. I had solved the problem or finding a roommate or tenant, and some of the safety issue, but not the keeping/maintaining a roommate aspect.
I began to consider a resource page that could allow users to download a sample roommate contract and sign it, access mediation and conflict resolution articles for common roommate challenges. I also debated having a way for roommates to validate that they had lived together, and leave one another feedback or a rating that other users can see on their main profile page.