Flats and Flatmates finder
The Goal of this case study is to create a simple and a user friendly app that solves the actual problems one face while searching for a flat and a flatmate.
Timeline: 1 day sprint
Role : Product Designer
Roommates have a poor reputation. However, as housing costs have risen, student loan rates have risen, and marriage ages have risen, many young individuals have chosen to living with roommates. In fact, 54% of 23–29-year-olds live in a household with two people.
The advantages of sharing a room clearly exceed the drawbacks. As a result, I aim to make living with others a positive experience with a solution that can simplify the process of finding flats and flatmates.
My Hypotheses before beginning the exercise
- People frequently choose to rent with their friends.
- Posting on social media might help you reach a wider audience. People can talk and find a match there.
- People believe that recommendations from their friends are more reliable. From the source, they can learn about the habits and lifestyle.
- The main problem is the budget.
- It’s never easy to find someone who is a perfect match and alike you
- The best places to live are those that are close to their workplaces.
- To decrease financial stress, the target age group of 18–28 years old working in tier 1–2 cities would prefer to live in shared housing.
Secondary Research (Internet Skimming)
I read articles about the surge in young adults living with roommates on the internet. I learned that college students aren’t the only ones who share a room. Many people who live in shared houses are over the age of twenty-two and are attempting to make ends meet; others opt to live with roommates for companionship.
Primary Research (User Interviews)
I had a word with few of my peers to understand what matters to them when they are looking for a roommate, they said:
For people looking for a flat:
- Amenities: furnished/semi furnished. They did not prefer unfurnished flats
- Budget friendly
- Market area nearby with affordable food choices
I interviewed a group of girls I previously knew who got along swimmingly. I was curious as to what they were doing to make them such good roommates. I realised that being flexible and caring for individuals who share your house were the keys to their success.
As understood from interview calls and internet research:
- Fake images and listings with false information
- Only a few filters were used to refine the best result
- The list is disorganised
- Landlord and Roomer contact information is unavailable
- There is no booking system, and there is no expense sharing system, and there is no rent payment functionality.
- Users who are not authorised or verified
- Users on the map or nearby can’t be found or connected to
- The Landlord Rules book is missing
- Features of the Rooms
- Price Range by Property Type
- App with a requirement quiz at onboarding to build profile. Then based on profile a list of similar roomates with matching needs
- Infinite scroll listing like Instagram reels
- Map view with search and filters along with a bottom carousel of listings of the particular location. On tap you can see the property details with the roomate info and a button- request to chat
- Maybe I am too inspired by the Tinder’s idea. They have use the ultimate tool of user satisfaction by giving users the power to choose which makes them feel like the king. The same module if used in roommate/flats hunting platform will make them go gaga as they would be able to connect with someone who fits their needs. They would feel like they are in-charge of the game. They can also connect their social platforms that would give a peek to the audience about their lifestyle. Plus, the thumb effect of swiping left and right keeps user hooked and is loved by all
I chose four competitors to see where my solution sits in the roommate-finding and house-sharing market: Roomi, SpareRoom, Flatmate, and Roomster. Nestaway, Nobroker, 99acres, and magicbricks, all of whom have indirect similar product offerings, assisted me in gathering information.
The following are the main takeaways: —
- Thoughts on the method of roommate matching: the user’s manual matching and the system’s automatic matching
- People want their personal information to be kept private
- Listings are improper with half information
- Great range of filters to refine search
- The images are not even proper or relevant
I just took a day to analyse the problem, understand the market, audience and design a solution. If given a chance to work upon this problem for days and with proper resources, I am definite I can come up with atleast 15–20 iterations of different ideas while analysing use cases and edge cases that might happen.
As per the statement- Your task is to design two main UI screens in high fidelity. I have designed these main screens for the apartment finder and the roommate finder along with a match screen. So many use cases and FTUX needs to be demonstrated but again this is just what I was able to do in a day.
For the App
- For the MVP, I am not planning to keep the payment option in app initially as frauds might happen would malign image of the app (bottom nav)
- Unlike Tinder the user will be able to see who all liked their profile in the list, using filters they might be able to refine search by selecting city, cost, near me etc.
- I am thinking about having a valid Aadhaar card/Passport etc document verification by the verification team
- For the question, After finding the ideal roommate, what else can this product do to make the roommate experience better? Like Airbnb manages the stay and provides all relevant details beforehand, after the roommate finalisation, it will provide the person the option to navigate the route, some ice breaker tips and how to effectively communicate, ideas for activities to enjoy with flatmates. The app can show what is common so as to give ideas for topics of conversation
- Maybe the app can have a roommate manager portal to it. It can have a calendar and could help in assigning tasks or roommates can add their schedule maybe that a guest would arrive between 4–6pm so that other could be aware of that
- My head is bombarded with ideas and probably this won’t work but this can be an official place where roommates maintain their flats/agreement documents and have a common group. It can be a slack of the workspace
- To save people from frauds, the app would ask for a mandatory photo click as in Bumble to authenticate the profile
This was a small assignment kind of work and this was my progress in a day. It was fun working on this challenge and work in a different direction from those of the market apps.
© Vibhuti Gupta | 2022