Roomie

BFA Senior Thesis Project

Roomie is an application that asks users to react to common roommate scenarios; then, based on their reactions, they are given a roommate style. Through the process of choosing reactions and being assigned a style, users reflect on their past experiences and habits. If they choose to, users may add their Roomie style to existing roommate search resources to add an extra element to their profiles. The user may also connect with and message other Roomie users to find potential roommates or to chat about their experiences and perspectives. A Roomie style profile can serve as a starting point for conversations that are not usually had after taking traditional roommate surveys.

Research - Secondary

“As Rents Rise, More Renters Turn to Doubling Up.” Zillow Research (blog), December 14, 2017. https://www.zillow.com/research/rising-rents-more-roommates-17618/.

A Growing Need

“Since 2005, the share of adults doubling up has increased year-over-year in every

age bracket. But the share of twenty-somethings (aged 23 to 29) living in doubled up households has climbed faster than any other age bracket, from 39 percent to 54 percent in just 11 years.”

The Roommate Effect

"Using housing data from a Chinese regional college, the author conducted a natural experiment to examine peer effects on three related students’ outcomes: first-year GPA, major transfer decisions, and course effort."

The experiment found that roommates had an effect on all three of these. 

Holt-Lunstad, Julianne, Timothy B. Smith, and J. Bradley Layton. “Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-Analytic Review.” PLOS Medicine 7, no. 7 (July 27, 2010): e1000316. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316.

Impact of Social Relationships on Health

“The influence of social relationships on the risk of death are comparable with well-established risk factors for mortality such as smoking and alcohol consumption and exceed the influence of other risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity”

Holt-Lunstad, Julianne, Timothy B. Smith, and J. Bradley Layton. “Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-Analytic Review.” PLOS Medicine 7, no. 7 (July 27, 2010): e1000316. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316.

Research - Primary

I interviewed 10 college students and centered the interview around two main questions: 

 

What kind of roommate do you think you are?

What are you looking for in a roommate? 

To start the interviews I asked them questions from a university roommate survey. Almost everyone had a hard time answering the questions, so I started asking them about experiences that defined what they liked and did not like in a roommate.

 

This survey was extremely valuable because it led me to base my quiz on experiences and helped me create the four different roommate styles. 

Ideation

After I knew what I wanted the general structure to be, I moved on to ideation. In this stage, I created multiple quick iterations. Below are photos of iterations that show where I started to come up with a structure similar to my end product. 

Quiz Structure

The biggest changes and one of the last changes was the structure of the quiz. I met with a professor at the Survey Research Center to go over different ways the university conducts research on social relationships. We went over different question structures and I showed her my original question structure which had text responses. This structure was o.k. but after more critique and going over the structure with my original interview group, I decided to change the text answers to a Likert scale.

Illustrations

Goal: bright and playful

Final 

I created an interactive prototype of the application in the end. Below is my final deliverable for the gallery. 

Gallery

In the gallery, I displayed the video below that went through the interactions and explained the different elements. On the iPad, there was a breakdown of the questions and types. Once the viewer read through the types, they could take a sticker with what they think their type would be. Even though I could not have a functioning app displayed, I wanted there to still be an interactive element that I could get valuable feedback from. While at the gallery opening I was able to listen to people explaining why they chose the style they did. 

Potential

The current state of this application could be a starting point for user testing and gathering feedback on how relevant the questions and user styles are too young adults. Roomie could be extremely useful in a university environment with more testing.

I will be adding a link to my thesis soon! :)