helps to find the most matched roommates --
users and their roommates would be a good fit in daily habits, life preferences, and personalities.
They can stay in harmony as a family -- "Famony."
for Famony experiences
Match with a potential roommate
Get a tailored roommate agreement
Change a meeting schedule
Edit your profile
Apply filters to find the most matched one
with the current roommate problems
I interviewed people, who have roommates. Based on their feedback, I found that roommate problems are really tricky to solve.
Especially when people have already become roommates, it is nearly impossible to fully change one's habits. Besides, it costs both time and money to change a roommate before the end of the lease.
Before vs. After
1. Before becoming roommates
Not easy to fully understand each other
Not realizing the importance of roommate agreements
Hard to find a roommate who meets all the criteria
2. After becoming roommates
Chore schedules and oral promises do not work
Hard to conduct honest and effective conversations
Impossible to change roommates with low cost
Impossible to change roommates' habits
Bad roommates cause both physical and mental harms
“You cannot change a person; just find the right one at the very beginning.”
Therefore, I decided to focus on finding the most matched roommate at the very beginning.
for target users
Carley wants to have nice and easy-going roommates, who can also be good friends with her. In this case, she would feel her apartment as her "home."
Kelvin really wants a workable roommate agreement. He hopes that his roommates can follow the rules and do not break the agreement.
Initial thoughts about the important features
Based on the main problem before becoming the roommates, I listed possible solutions for each problem.
1. Not easy to fully understand each other
Verification / background check
habits, hobbies, personalities
personal meeting and video call
Comments and ratings
2. forget to make roommate agreements
Co-edited roommate agreement
with reasonable punishments
3. hard to find a roommate meeting all the criteria
Decision on the
based on target users’ needs
I made low and mid-fidelity prototypes to test the possible features above. I found:
People really like verification and roommate agreements. This is because they need a feeling of security.
People dislike comments and ratings. This is because they do not consider it as credible and such features feel "creepy.“
1. to understand each other better
I applied a typical "dating app" design to make my users easily scan their potential roommates and get a match.
To help them to find qualified roommates quickly, I add the section on the top of the homepage to show people who have picked them as potential roommates. It is a free function -- no premium required.
For a detailed profile, besides the section on basic info and habit, I especially add "Pet-peeve", which encourages people to show what they really cannot tolerate.
This is because, from my interview, people talked about they tended to be nice at the very beginning and might not want to be "too picky."
Thus, they do not have the sense to express their limits.
Users can schedule a video call to learn more about the personalities of the potential roommates. Besides, they can also check the apartment and neighborhood.
2. to set a roommate agreement
I interviewed 8 people, no one made a roommate agreement to avoid the possible conflicts in the future. All of them expressed that if possible, they should sign a roommate agreement at the very beginning.
Therefore, I added the function of making a roommate agreement to remind my user to set the rules.
3. to meet all the criteria
For other roommate matching apps or college roommate matching systems, users are usually required to fill out a long survey -- they do not like it.
To improve the app experience, I make users experience the app immediately without filling out any survey at the very start. However, there would be a notification every day to remind users to complete their profiles.
To easily find their ideal roommate, they can use filters to narrow down their choices.
After testing my app, I received a lot of positive feedbacks -- people thought Famony is simple, easy, and useful. However, they do not feel my app is unique enough to stir their curiosity. Thus, in the future, I want to improve Famony in three ways:
First, if possible, I would make it more interesting. People may expect that a new app would have some gamified features to make the experience more fun.
Second, I would eliminate the writing part. People hate writing too much. Although I got rid of the survey, my users still feel pressured if they have to fill out a long profile. I should apply more tags and default answers. Then they can just click instead of typing.
Third, I would come up with more effective ideas to improve credibility. People can still pretend to be nice and clean when they meet in person or through a video call.