Mobile Application Design for Roommate Management Systems

Team: Reeti Mathur, Gauri Patekar

Background

Managing household chores get challenging among roommates, especially during school life. Mostly, roommates share household activities like cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, paying bills etc. among themselves on a weekly or monthly basis. They tend to manage these schedules manually using paper schedules which are usually mounted on a refrigerator. This proves to be difficult to keep track of, especially when they are away from home. Also, maintaining healthy friendship and cooperation among roommates is a critical factor- especially on tight schedules and coping up with different styles of living.

 

The Problem

How can we help roommates living in a shared apartment split household chores amongst themselves, manage and keep track of them in a hassle-free way?

Our rationale behind the problem

Being students and living in shared apartments, we ourselves struggled with this problem every day. Hence we believed that we could understand and research the users’ needs closely, empathize with them and come up with the best possible solution.

 

The Design Process

 

An infographic showing the three stages in our design process

 

Initial Research and Requirements Gathering

We first conducted screener surveys to reach out to our target audience and learn about their experiences of being roommates and dividing household chores.

Based on the survey results, we conducted contextual interviews to know more about the pain-points faced by our target audience.

 

Paper Prototyping

 

Test Results and Our Understandings from the Paper Prototyping Test Session:

  • Testing with paper prototypes gave us a definite direction for our next phase of low fidelity prototypes on the user’s onboarding process
  • It mainly helped us define an appropriate user flow of the application
  • It also gave an idea of the features that were more important to the users

 

Low-Fidelity Prototyping using Balsamiq

Implementation of the on-boarding process learned from the initial testing phase

 

During Second Testing Phase, users were unable to understand the icons used for the ‘swap’ and ‘postpone task’ functionalities here.

 

Users were unable to understand the ‘Scan’ feature which would help them automatically find out what is there in their refrigerator.

This would help them know what items they must buy.

 

Test Results and Our Understandings from the Low-Fidelity Test Session:

  • Testing with low-fidelity prototypes helped us learn that the icons used in the design do not convey their meanings efficiently.
  • It mainly helped us to re-define an appropriate user interface.

 

High-Fidelity Interactive Prototype

 

Users’ Feedback

 

I would definitely like to try splitting up chores between my roommates and managing them using RunMyHome. It would save my efforts to constantly keep a check on the tasks manually”

I loved the concept of AR grocery list. It would be fun to scan items inside the refrigerator which would detect items that are almost over and need to be bought and automatically add to the list”

Leaderboard is a good concept to keep a person motivated but I did not find it much engaging”

I would like to have a way wherein I can split the bill amount for a particular grocery list”

I wouldn’t require a separate messaging feature”