Spare Room — a conceptual redesign

The Brief:

‘In light of the challenges encountered in coordinating flat-shares during COVID lockdown, Spare Room identified an opportunity to adapt their service to the changing times. With people spending more time at home, and more and more viewings being conducted virtually, Spare Room wanted to make it easier for people to find and choose flatmates aligned with their personality and interests.’

Our focus

From the brief, we were able to focus on three key areas — making profiles more prominent and engaging, making the profiles themselves easier to find, and making virtual interactions easier.

Discover:

As a team, we interviewed 12 people with the aim of digging deeper into people’s experiences in finding a flatmate both with Spare Room and by other means.

Competitor Research

Define

With our research phase yielding some valuable insights, we went on to creating problem statements. The objective was to define and articulate the problem that we were trying to solve (based off the brief and our research) and who we were going to design the solutions for.

Develop:

With our personas and research complete, we engaged in a design studio to start formulating our solutions. The objective of a design studio is to rapidly collate as many ideas as possible to attempt to solve the problems that you have identified in your research.

Deliver:

Upon agreeing on the sweet spot we started to move up from quick feature sketches to wireframes. To combat the trustworthiness issue, we implemented verifications. We also wanted to improve the quality of information on the profile page, making it more engaging for users.

Prototype:

https://www.figma.com/proto/kKDy4TNCk3JhC8VzPHqbfW/ShareSpace?node-id=256%3A384&scaling=scale-down-width

Next steps:

We would love to further test the designs to understand if we have largely solved the issue of trustworthiness and engagement. With the limited time at our disposal, we also didn’t explore the issue of personal security so much; this would need to be examined in more detail, especially seeing as profiles can contain links to social media accounts.

What did I learn?

My main takeaway from this project was the importance of prioritising features. If you can work on a project for months on end then the scope for implementing new features drastically increases. However for a 2-week sprint such as this, it’s imperative that designers focus on what features are going to solve the most problems. Our Venn Diagram was a success and is something that I will certainly be using in future.

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Ben Appleyard

Ben Appleyard

UX Designer and student at General Assembly