Matches By HomeFinder
I designed a concept project (mobile application) that matches and connects home seekers to roommates and rental communities.
HomeFinder is a search engine for home seekers. They would like to innovate and push boundaries in the home search industry by focusing on the compatibility of home seekers to apartment communities and roommates.
2 Week Sprint
Abbie Jasinski (me)
Competitors Lacked Sense of Community
Since this was a new feature for HomeFinder, I completed a competitive analysis on Roomster, Roomi, Craigslist, and Facebook. I noticed that Roomi and Roomster were heavily focused on matching potential roommates, while Craigslist and Facebook was simply a way for home seekers to browse through listings of available homes.
Compatibility for roommates/listings
In application messaging
Roommate matching surveys
Using the Competitor's Product
Matches was a new feature to HomeFinder, so I ran contextual inquiries on users with a focus roommate matching applications (Roomi and Roomster). Feedback from contextual inquiries included the following:
Detailed information about their potential roommate
An in app messaging feature
Clear understanding of what the application does
User's Value Recommendations
We started with a brief survey that we sent out to users on Reddit and other social media platforms. After reviewing the responses, we conducted initial interviews. There were a total of 10 participants representing a mixed variety of users. The questions started with a focus on shared experience and ended with roommate and/or apartment search.
Prefer shared experiences
Enjoys human interaction
Values sense of community
Prefer a convenient form of communication
"It is very important to have a sense of community in the apartment community that I live in."
Affinity mapping user interviews (Abbie & Jose)
Who will use the product?
We noticed the trend of users who were open to a roommate, and others that wanted to live on their own. Both valued community in different ways.
*Persona character visuals created by Jose Ortiz
Two Different but Similar Problems
HomeFinder is known as a search engine to purchase and rent homes and apartments. There has been a push for shared living experiences in the past few years. The users are in need of a way to connect to compatible roommates and/or rental communities.
Connecting to Compatible Roommates and Communities
Users were looking for a sense of community, whether that be in their apartment with roommates, in their rental community, or in the neighborhood. The solution that we arrived at was creating an in-depth onboarding and lifestyle preference survey that allows the user to match with other compatible roommates or rental communities.
Crazy 8's led to Wireframing
The team participated in a design studio, which helped us determine where we wanted to go with our wire-frames. The design studio consisted of crazy 8's and critiques. From this information, we compiled a user flow that we used to plan out wireframes. I designed the login, sign up, roommate match, and compatibility page.
Design Studio / Crazy 8's
Users Led us to Painpoints
This approach offered insight on how the user’s navigated the mobile app, and any pain points they experienced along the way. One of the issues that we had was the toggle at the top which went between roommates and locations, which was confusing to someone who was looking for a roommate. They didn’t understand why they had both matches available to them. This led to the decision of eliminating the toggle, and allowing each user to have their own customized screens based on what they were looking for.
You just download HomeFinder app, you want to sign up as a new user.
You just setup your account, you want to find a roommate.
Users felt confused when they saw the listings section when they were only looking for a roommate. We iterated a separate workflow for users who were only looking for roommates.
Looking back, there were times in the design process that I wish we would have stopped and revisited the research. We focused on building out many screens, that the community integration was left until the end to complete. If we had more time, we would have developed the community section more to meet the needs of the user.
What I Found Enjoyment in...
There's a mixture of things I enjoyed about this project. It was my first group project in the immersive, and I enjoyed being the project manager. I enjoy creating the timeline of where we should be throughout the process. I also enjoyed using the research insights to create a mobile application to fit the needs of the user and client. I felt empathetic to both personas, and wanted to provide them a product that could simplify the process.