Flat Hunters

The mobile app matches future flatmates with similar living preferences and helps them to find their dream place to rent.

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Project Type:
 
Academic
10 weeks timeline
My role:

UX researcher
UI designer
Tools:
 
Pen & Paper
Figma
Sketch
InVision

Welcome to the journey of creating my first digital app! 

Do not fall in love with your 1st, 2nd and 50th idea - they said...

It will be fun to constantly improve - they said...

And they were right!

From academic submission to passion project...

In this case study, I would like to present the process of creating my first mobile app, thanks to which

I have officially become a designer!

Starting with the problem and going through the whole design process which I present below, finishing up with the final prototype... oh wait two prototypes! Because it is all about testing and improving!

Problem space.

The vast majority of people based in London share the living space with strangers who are supposed

to become their second family? Is it exactly how reality looks like?

The Research.

Secondary research.

Many of my friends from big cities sharing flats with other people move at least once a year. It is caused mainly by roommates they don’t get along well with or by exaggerated expectations, and lack of help from landlords.

Social media forums, magazine articles are full of stories from rooms seekers who experienced:

  • crazy household rules 
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  • lack of privacy and respect from roommates
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  • exaggerated criteria from landlords
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However, the problem affects also landlords who have problems with renting their properties. Also, people who want to rent a place, demand high-quality standards for the lowest price.

Primary research.

Let's look into the problem closely by interviewing people; both tenants and landlords who experience similar difficulties. 

Tenants.

Pain points:

  • the high volume of offers without exact criteria or with too many exaggerated rules

  • lack of trustworthy platform without scams

  • lack of possibility to talk/meet new flatmates before moving into the new place

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Goals:

  • being able to get to know people before moving into the new flat

  • being able to not only match landlord criteria but also describes his own

  • feeling comfortable in the new flat around stranges

Motivations:

  • the desire of finding a dream place to live

  • hope to match with people who already live in the flat

  • fear about having to move again

Landlords.

Pain points:

  • exaggerated expectations from tenants

  • lack of possibility to describe criteria of future tenant

  • difficulties with contacting the tenants

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Goals:

  • being able to get to know people before moving into the new flat

  • rent the property to trustworthy people 

  • being able to verify tenants before letting them the property

Motivations:

  • rent the property for longterm

  • find tenants who do not destroy the property

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Summarizing insights from interviews I came into the conclusion that both group; tenants and landhave similar problems. However , regarding the time constraints , I decided to focus on tenants and design a solution from their perspective.

So I have asked myself :

"How might we connect young people who match the same criteria so they can feel like home living together?"

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Design challenge.

 

The Persona.

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To understand better the problem I have created a persona, Angelika who represents the main pain points, goals and motivations of users I aimed to reach with my product.

Meet Angela who is tired of moving all the time and would like to finally stay in one place for longer without having trouble with the people she lives with.

No more cooking at 1 am, no more dirty dishes in the sink, no more parties at night... she hopes that there must be a perfect place with people matching her criteria.

 

Her goal became a goal of my product which I reached by designing Flat Hunters.

Experience map.

Through the lenses of the persona, I have created her experience map of a flat research journey.

 

It helped to visualise her journey of flat seeking from the beginning to the end. Hint main pain point and important concerns throughout the journey. The map helps to understand better what kind of features can help the users to achieve the goal easier.

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Competitor analysis.

To make my solution unique and more friendly for the user than the existing platform,

I have compared competitors and features they use on their platforms.

The biggest competition of my idea is the existing platform Ideal Flatmate, who however has no mobile responsive design of the platform. Also, the process of creating an account is quite long. I would like to use that information to make my design standing out.

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Main task flow.

Knowing better what might be the best idea for the solution, I have focused on the main task flow. I have decided that the most important for the user will be creating an account and answering obligatory system questions which help to match users with similar preferences.

The main task flow: 

Creating an account as a new user.

 

The challenge:

Making the task easy and fun. Opposite to Ideal Flatmate.

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The Design.

Sketches.

Based on chosen task flow, I have started to visualise the user's journey. Using pen and paper I have sketched screens, user must go through from creating an account, through answering system questions, to beginning the research. Choosing the best from sketched screens, I came up with the following user flow:

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Lo-hi wireframes.

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Having a visual idea of the task flow, I have moved paper sketched into Figma, designing digital lo-fi wire frames. 

 

Understand better user needs and based on received feedback, I have made following changes to make the screen more intuitive. After, that I have run second round of testing.

Round 1st.

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To understand easier results of usability testing, I have underline following main pain points:

  • the task flow is too long because

  • the progress bar on each screen 

  • the possibility of editing answers 

  • quick search button on the results page

  • confusion about navigation bar icons

Round 2nd.

To understand easier results of usability testing, I have underline following main pain points:

  • the quiz page must be changed to make it more intuitive for users

  • fewer icons in the bottom navigation bar

  • titles on each screen

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Having digital design, I moved to usability testings, which are aimed to check if the flow is intuitive for first-time users. I have engaged 5 people, who went through the task flow.

 

They spend 15min each playing around with screens. have asked them to complete the task flow, overcoming few tasks during the journey. I have asked them also to express their steps, opinions and confusions out loud while passing the screens.

I have run 2 rounds of user testing.

Testing.

 

Prototype.

Hi-fi wireframes.

Taking all tips into consideration, I have created final wire frame.

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Final design.

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Oh wait... 
It is not the final design!

 

Final final design.

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After completing the first version of the prototype, I wasn't quite happy with the final effect and wanted

to improve my design even more.

I had a feeling that something was missing to make my design stand out. That is why I started testings again; with friends, family. I looked for more inspiration... and here it comes:

My final design, combination of rental and dating app. 

Flat Hunters - fun to use and helpful to achieve the goal!

Next steps.

  • Give the user the option to answer additional questions (that they can access from their profile page) to get more accurate results 

  • Require double verification with a Google or Facebook account to make the platform safe, trustworthy and free of scams

  • Constantly improve the app with usability testing and users feedbacks

Considering the time constrains, I was not able to include all features. 

However, what I would like to improve is:

 

Learnings.

  • Trust in my skills and intuition by looking outside of the box 

  • To not always follow given system, rules of designing a solution

  • Testing, testing, testing and feedbacks on the first place of achieving the success

  • Less self-pressure = better productivity