This project is pretty old, but I like to keep it up here since I don't have the time anymore to make personal projects. Though my design craft has improved a lot, I like the fun and whimsical approach I took to this project!
Roomy is a personal project I created on my own in my free time.
Drawing from personal challenges I encountered when living in close proximity with both friends and strangers, as well as interviewing others about their experiences, I made Roomy: a mobile app to make living with roommates less painful and more fun.
I worked on this project independently, designing research, visuals, and the end-to-end experience.
Everyone has a roommate horror story…
… but few roommates are just inherently evil — often, conflicts arise from communication issues and other challenges of coexistence. There's no app currently on the market that aims to supports all aspects of roommate living and makes the entire experience more delightful.
How might we make living and communicating with roommates less stressful?
I looked into and tried existing apps targeted toward roommates. The overarching problem I identified was that products were either too niche (Splitwise) or lacked depth (RoomMate). This informed my focus for Roomy: to create a product with sufficient — but not overwhelming — depth, and enough of a breadth of functionality to make it actually useful.
I then conducted interviews with people that had lived with roommates to learn more about their challenges and experiences. I asked questions to find out more about their pain points:
9 out of 10 people were unsatisfied with their roommate situation.
From my interviews, I narrowed in on the sentiments that were frequently echoed to try to get to the root of these problems.
There were two main pain points:
Participants also noted issues like noise, guests, and not being aware of what their roommates were doing on a daily basis.
Based on my research, I made a list of the following features that would be included in the product:
Let's build it!
I started by defining the visual treatment — I wanted it to be fun and lively while still highly usable. I knew I was packing a lot of functionality into one product, and I didn't want users to get lost between interfaces. So, I decided to define specific use cases for each colour to add clarity (and style!) to the product.
Everything at a glance
The main dashboard shows you and your roommates' statuses, as well as everything pertinent to the day: quiet hours, owed balances, and tasks due.
Make sure everything gets done
Ask your roommates to vacuum the living room, clean the kitchen, or whatever else from within the app. Make general requests if you don't care who does it, or ask anonymously to avoid any awkwardness.
No more awkward confrontation
Send messages to your roommates from within the app. Plus, the chat log doubles as history for all the tasks and expenses you've sent to the group.
Learnings & Reflections
Solve problems you care about —
The easiest way to love a problem is to choose one that affects you. Of course, research is still paramount in getting a sense of other people's individual challenges — but nothing keeps you motivated like solving something that's been bothering you.
Do your research! —
I used to find it difficult to keep myself rigorous when doing personal projects, especially in terms of research. For this project, I challenged myself to talk to complete strangers in order to stay unbiased and build empathy.
Remember to have fun :·) —
It's been awhile since I had the chance to do a passion project, and I really enjoyed using fun colours and typefaces — this was a fun reminder that design can be simultaneously whimsical and functional.