Roomie: Contemporary Co-Living Experience
Roomie - Strengthening CMU Co-Living Experience
Strengthening CMU's Community
Students are currently leveraging and appropriating social media and online communication to facilitate the new housing search process. However, many students reported searching for house in a new city or even a new country, or finding matching roommates, could be extremely difficult.
With Roomie, which streamline the housing-search process, students are no longer overwhelmed by the amount of options, information, and communication that’s required to facilitate the housing process from end to end.
Product Designer, Full-stack Developer
From UX research to responsive UI design
CMU Interaction Design Studio
Project is live on 184.108.40.206
Community Is The Next Trend
Students are not simply looking for housing where they can put their things.
They are actually looking to join a community that fosters relationships.
The housing process is a ripe intervention point. Deciding where to live, with whom, and making sense of the new city of Pittsburgh is shown through our research to be one of the impressionable moments for new students.
Compared to other universities of similar calibre, Carnegie Mellon University ranks lower in ratings due to the lack of alumni participation in giving. While alumni satisfaction and participation in giving is a multi-factored problem, one approach is to strengthen community ties and student experience at CMU beyond the academic realm.
Roomie will allow students to establish meaningful interpersonal connections that can not only support students during rigorous academic times, but also improve their overall experience as a CMU student and strengthen their connection to the university as alumni.
In our interviews with 6 university students, we find that master students, especially international students, suffer the most from looking for housing. They do not have dormitories, and they have very limited connection with current students and property managers.
We constructed customer journey map based on all interview notes. By analyzing and aggregating the data, we found that the most painful parts are roommate searching and apartment researching.
By reframing and narrowing the problem to roommate matching, we started asking people how they searched for their roommates at the beginning, and how they felt about living with them after 2 months.
- Instant Messages (WhatsApp, Wechat, Kakao): people know each other well, but limited access to all incoming students.
- Social Network: diverse choices, but people usually have significant differences or disagreements
- Online Survey (created by program director): similar academic and career interests, but overwhelmed by the amount of information
- Connections through other people: people trust each other, but limited access to all incoming students.
Therefore, we designed a property-based, two-way roommate matching mechanism to provide a light and trustful solution.
Business Model Analysis
The design should achieve the business goal, and meet the unmet needs. Roomie provides students with a one-stop solution to roommate searching, and benefits each stakeholder in the business.
To better bring students together, we enable students to clearly see others who are also interested in the same property. A typical flow may look like this:
Guaranteed that all users are university students, users are more likely to trust the information on our website. In our interviews, some aspects that students care the most are academic programs, genders, sleep time, and guest policy. So we suggest all students finish these basic profiles, and they can always customize their "tags".
As for disagreement on properties, we understand and respect that everyone has difference preference about properties. Also, as it takes students lots of time and energy to manage all the information about roommates and properties, deciding on property first seems to be an inevitable choice. By liking a property first, all roommates are categorized by their interests of each property you liked.
Students will be prompted if there is any possible conflict (e.g. early bird vs night owl) according to their profiles. They are more likely to go through these topics in chat so they make sure they feel comfortable living together.
Roommate matching could last for a long time, but you still need to check the status often so you won't miss critical information. Therefore, to provide a seamless experience, mobile context and responsive design should be taken into consideration.
In order to develop a color system that still reflected Carnegie Mellon University, as well as the bold and modern concept behind our product, we focused on the colors in the tartan plaid.
The final deliverables are responsive screens of all main functions.