top of page

Roommate Finder

Product Manager

Project timeline: 2 months

What is it?

Roommate finder helps match people with similar interests and preferences when they are trying to rent an apartment together.  

The Challenge

It can be frustrating to find a roommate and be sure that this is a person you are compatible with, when you're signing a long term lease. 


Roommate finder helps alleviate some of these pain points by connecting people with similar or compatible interests and promotes communication and getting to know your potential roommate before signing a lease.

On the business side, the hypothesis was that the lease renewal rates improve when compatible roommates sign a lease, and they end up bringing more people into the community by word of mouth. This product has to serve the business by helping the potential roommates get to know each other better in a few online interactions, so they have a decent relationship before they move in to the apartment.

Setting Goals

The product needed to simplify finding roommates and help the business generate revenue by getting the right combination of roommates to sign a lease. 


So the high level goals were to,

  • Match people with similar interests effectively

  • Help them understand each other by driving conversation

  • Improve lease renewal rates (business)

My Role

I was the product owner and I led the strategy and execution for this product. My cross functional team in this project consisted of a team of interaction and visual designers, team of software developers and a lean QA team.

The Process
Finding my bearings

Our customers gave us some rough requirements by the end of June and wanted a finished product in August, in time for the school season (they were located close to SFSU and wanted this product to manage demand and get more people signed up for leases). The tight timeline meant that we needed to be efficient in user research and understanding the needs.


I had a series of meetings with our customer (property management) to understand the business side of the needs.


I followed up with interviewing students that were visiting the leasing office, about their current and past struggles in finding roommates.


The key takeaways from this effort were:


- Property management wanted a product, that they can refer leads to, that were looking for roommates

- Prospective tenants wanted an easy and effective way to identify/explore roommates instead of traditional ways  

Time to Ideate

I started by sketching some rough ideas on paper and transferred them to a whiteboard in the form of a user flow. This process helped me fine tune some of the ideas as I was moving from one medium (paper) to another (whiteboard).


Paper/whiteboard sketches help me visualize the overall thought process and I feel is the best way to iterate an early conceptual design.


I then used Balsamiq to translate the concept into a more shareable format and in the process I iterated the design and added more details to it.  


The core idea of the design was simple. The user creates a profile for themselves and answers some basic questions that help with matching. Once that is complete, they will start seeing matches for roommates that have expressed interest in moving in around the same time based on their preferences.


A communication mechanism was built in to the concept, so when someone finds a suitable roommate, they can initiate communication right from the application.


To encourage communication that would generate responses, I also included some example topics/questions they can ask the other person about (see right panel in the screen below).


Responsiveness was an important requirement for the product, so consumers can open the application on any device when they have to check on new roommate matches or respond to messages on the go.

Roommate_finder-_Responsive_behavior 1.p
Roommate_finder-_Responsive_behavior 2.p
Roommate_finder-_Responsive_behavior 3.p

I was working closely with the Engineering team, and we were looking at ways to shorten the development cycle to put out a product within the aggressive timeline. We decided to reuse some global components that we had for the enterprise product (leasing platform), and adjusted them slightly to make it align with the consumer vision of this product.

I involved Engineering from the ideation phase to make sure what is being designed is achievable in the timeframe, and Engineering's input in this phase was valuable to keep the design honest.

Group 137.png

Research and requirements defining took a week and the design was completed the following week. Engineering started working on the infrastructure pieces are we were ideating, so they were able to wrap up the development in 2 sprints. We had a lean QA team and they would easily get overwhelmed with the narrow testing window they had, so I brought in people from the product and engineering teams to go over testing scenarios in an effort to help QA out. We were able to run a quick usability session with 6 participants and no blockers came up in the findings that would delay the launch. We were able to successfully deliver the product in time.

Here's a screenshot of what the product looked like in production.

Lessons learned
  • Frequent check-ins with the customer not just focussing on the product features but also on how they are dealing with the need in the time being and sensing if their needs around the product have changed is important. 

  • Having an established internal process for research and testing helps projects with extremely tight timelines to be successful.

bottom of page