UX Case Study: Roommates

Design a mobile product experience that appeals to millennials that makes it safe to find the ideal roommate in Berlin. Design the experience from the perspective of person who is looking for a roommate as well as the one who is looking for the apartment. Once the ideal roommate is found, what else can this product do to make the roommate experience better? We are looking for you to identify pain points in the “finding/keeping a good roommate” journey and to find ways to solve for those pain points.
Constraint: Stick to existing mobile capabilities of iOS and Android.

A few trends of note: 54% of the world’s population live in urban communities, the average marriage age for men is 29 (up from 26 two decades ago) and for women is 27 (up from 23 in the same time period). Given these trends, city dwellers tend to spend most of their twenties living with roommates. Finding and keeping a good roommate, however, gets harder as more people swarm into cities.

Split It is a social flatshare platform that focuses on finding the right housemates as much as finding the right flatshare. All of the users login with Facebook so the app automatically display users background and interests alongside the usual pictures of the property.


Berlin is a crowded city full of strangers seeking to find a compatible roommate. The current App solutions doesn’t help landlords or home seekers to find the ideal or perfect roomie and even worst, they don’t help to keep good roommates. Our new mobile app will address this gap by building a friendly app for millenials looking to share with a person that fits and is compatible to your style of life.

Once renting a room you don’t really know if you are compatible with your new roomie, this app helps you know more about each other before making an offer.


  • In a city where people are strangers, millenials will pay a small amount of money to find a compatible roommate.

  • Youngsters would download a user-friendly app that helps to evaluate possible roommates habits to find a good match.

  • Millennials would download and use an app to track housing relating tasks such as expenses, cleaning or communicating with each other.

  • Current Apps don’t help to keep nice roommates for a long time as the retention rate is pretty low.

  • Objectives & Process

    As someone with a spare room in a house share or property to list, you can:

  • Have your advert up in less than 5 minutes with our streamlined listing process.
  • Review the pictures, interests and background of potential housemates interested in your listing.
  • Search for and connect with the right housemates - tenants for your property via our in-app messaging.
  • As someone looking for somewhere to rent you can:

  • Search for a property or room to rent in a shared house.
  • Moving to a new city? Find and contact other people looking for properties in the same area.
  • Advertise your profile so that houseshares needing flatmates can contact you.

  • Affinity Map from User Interviews

    In order to discover the pain points of our design problem I would create an Affinity Map with the result of User Interviews. I run 8 interviews, 4 with room seekers and 4 with landlords to get qualitative data.
    This is an Affinity Map with the biggest pain points I found. Compatibility is the most important metric to consider from our target, that mean they want to find a person that fits in their lives. Other important metrics to consider while looking for a design solution is Price or Location of the household.


    We believe having a mobile app that helps to generate matches or good fits between potential roommates will be useful by millenials to increase their life satisfaction when sharing with a compatible person. This will lead to positive reviews, over four stars, on the digital stores and will add a 25% more of downloads after six month of the product release.

    Note: A match, good fit or compatible stands to when two people have personal connections and share similar values and a style of life that generates an easy coexistence.


    After I have narrowed down the list of potential users, I completed a persona profile having in mind three questions. Mary is “The Student”.

  • Do the customer exist?
  • Do they have the needs and obstacles you think they do?
  • Would they value a solution to this problem?

  • Features for the MVP

    After conducting the research now I am able to start the planning phase listing out the possible features that the app should have being the most important the “Matching System” to make help users find the perfect roommate.
    This is a list of Features that emerge from the Pain Points. We want to integrate this in order to build the MVP.

    Tasks (by hierarchy)

    He have a list of 6 features listed here by priority and impact. I would start working with each one every Sprint being 1 the most important one and 7 the least. If we consider that our Sprints will last for 2 weeks each, building 7 features will take 14 weeks or over 3 months.

  • Weeks 1-2: Matching System
  • Weeks 3-4: User Profile
  • Weeks 5-6: Chat
  • Weeks 7-8: Search Filters
  • Weeks 9-10: Maps
  • Weeks 11-12: Bid Pricing
  • Weeks 13-14: User Review System

  • User Flows

    Inspired by the personas, we then had our guiding ideas to build the room seeker user flow:

  • Onboarding process: Only ask information that matters to maximize the compatibility between room seekers and roommate seekers. This is the flow of how would a user register and answer the “Matching Questions” to generate compatibilities.

  • Seeking Flow: The flow starts when the user starts looking for matches, it follows with a conversation, scheduling a viewing and it ends signing an agreement contract.

  • Wireframes

    Thanks to our sketches, we have then designed digital wireframes. The objective was to build a prototype and start testing as soon as possible the Room seeker flow.

    Qualitative Testing

    To test the prototype I would recruit 4 users as close as possible to Mary, our room seeker persona. Using prototypes in Invision is a good way to test scenarios. We require minimum an interviewer and a notes taker and we should ask permission to record them.
    Here was our user panel:

  • 2 women
  • 2 men
  • from 25 to 32 years old
  • had lived or currently live in a shared space

  • Before running the tests, we read to users a scenario to make sure they would understand the mindset of the room seeker persona. Here was the scenario:

    Mary is a 17 years old high school student from Italy. She is planning to go to Berlin to study her bachelor's degree for four years, so at this point she is only concerned to find a good university to go to study. She is looking to share an apartment with some other students to share expenses. She has a low budget so she is willing to find something cheap but not to far from the campus. Ideally she wants to share with other compatible females.

    To evaluate our design we have asked them to complete these tasks:
  • A monthly rent between $700 and $1000
  • Live with 3 other roommates maximum
  • A 1 year stay minimum duration
  • Reviewed with 4 stars minimum
  • Have a matching rate over 4 stars.
  • Arrange a viewing on Thursday, March 9 after 5:45 pm

  • Hi fi Prototypes

    This is the final outcome, basically a draft of how our app would look initially.

    Quantitative KPIs

    An app can have many key performance indicators (KPI) that need tracking but as per our hypothesis the two most important ones would be:

  • Downloads: This KPI is measure of success but not of quality. You might have millions of downloads thanks to an awesome marketing campaign, but those users might hate the app and uninstall it right away. Still, download numbers are an important and we were looking to increase our downloads by 25% after six months of launch.

  • App Ratings: We anticipated an average rating of the app over 4 stars, we can track this in the Market Store (Android) or the App Store (iOS).

  • Other variables: It’s much more KPI’s we can track once working with mobile applications. In this initial stage I would pay attention to the “Social Shares” to see if people recommend the app to their friends and family. The last but not least indicator would be the “Retention Rate” to see if people is coming back to your app or is a single use product.

  • Conclusion

    It has been such an interesting journey to design this mobile application. Dealing with a short constraint forced me to be extremely organized and efficient to meet our deadlines. In this context, the research phase has been essential to identify user expectations and frustrations. This is how I have discovered two important discoveries. Contrary to what we thought, landlords are rarely involved in finding new tenants for their property. We have also discovered how important communication, was in the room search process, or in roommates daily life. Security and character compatibility were also major concerns. In addition to these discoveries, designing the room seeker and roommate seekers flows help us to identify pain points.

    Thanks for reading.