(https://www1.nyc.gov/site/planning/data-maps/nyc-population/population-facts.page)
Part I
/ Context review & Background
The New York Metropolitan Area is  the densest location in the United State (over 27,000 people per square mile)

Approximately two-thirds of dwelling units in New York are renter-occupied, which is more than twice the national average.

NYC has the highest population turnover
(https://www.citylab.com/equity/2014/04/2-very-different-migrations-driving-growth-us-cities/8873/)
Net International Migration
50,000
25,000
5000
Domestic + International = net total turnover
Which means |-100,000|+128,000=228,000
Think about this… If you are new to NYC and you are willing to realize your American dream here. The first thing you want to do is to find a place to stay…
WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
If you are reading this, you probably have already opened up the Craigslist’s housing section to start your apartment hunting adventure…
Net Total Migration
Part II
/ Final design with highlight features
New feature 1: No more repetition — Quick reply
Erin Chou
Message
Invite
return
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Sure, I am available from
5 PM - 7 PM.
3.32 PM
3.32 PM
Type a message...
3:34 PM
I hope all is well. I am definitely interested in subletting the room.
Wondering if I can attend the open
house next Saturday?
Would you mind telling me the
address?
FREQUENTLY USED
The address is 503 West 33th Street, Apt 4b …
My room is not available anymore.
The open house date is Saturday, June 23.
The leasing length is about three months.
The closest transportation is N, Q, R.
Erin Chou
Message
Invite
return
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Sure, I am available from
5 PM - 7 PM.
3.32 PM
Type a message...
3.32 PM
3:34 PM
I hope all is well. I am definitely interested in subletting the room.
Wondering if I can attend the open
house on next Saturday?
Would you mind telling me the
adderess?
FREQUENTLY USED
The address is 503 West 33th Street, Apt 4b …
My room is not available anymore.
The open house date is Saturday, June 23.
The leasing length is about three months.
The closest transportation is N, Q, R.
Type a quick reply…
Add
Cancel
— Auto-generating frequently used info (i.e., address, leasing length, open house date & nearby subway) as a quick reply.

— Free to delete and add any quick reply.


SAVE TIME IN EVERY ATTEMPT
Two heads are better than one.
New feature 2: Invite current tenants to discuss the leasing unit with potential tenants to find the right one
— Invite your current tenants to reply to potential tenants’ message.

— Let everyone who will be living together be satisfied with their roommates from the very beginning.


SAVE TIME IN THE LONG RUN


Search for messages
Yesterday
See you on Sunday.
Tony Stark
Daniel DeVito
Haha, it sounds very cool!
Pavel Durov
10:37 AM
Still not finished with him.
Roman Abramovich
Is the unit still available?
1.21 PM
Chloë Moretz
Yes, the price is about $2000.
Monday
Erin Chou
Would you mind telling me the ad…
3.32 PM
3:34 PM
Delete
Invite
Erin Chou
Message
Invite
return
space
123
m
n
b
v
c
x
z
l
k
j
h
g
f
d
s
a
p
o
i
u
y
t
r
e
w
q
Sure, I am available from
5PM - 7PM.
3.32 PM
3.32 PM
Type a message...
3:34 PM
I hope all is well. I am definitely interested in subletting the room.
Wondering if I can attend the open
house on next Saturday?
Would you mind telling me the
adderess?
FREQUENTLY USED
The address is 503 West 33th Street, Apt 4b …
My room is not available anymore.
The open house date is Saturday, June 23.
The leasing length is about three months.
The closet transportation is N, Q, R.
Invite current tenants to discuss with the potential tenant to see if he/she is suitable.
Send through
text
Send through
email
— Chuck Palahniuk
Standardization is the first step to let something be commodified.
Modified feature: standardize necessary housing post info to eliminate miscommunication
DETAILS MAKE DIFFERENCE  


Kitchen
The move-in date is flexible
Address
Show unit # in the post
This project leveraged the renting/subleasing experience on Craigslist, especially in big cities like New York City. Our redesign proposed two new features in both its mobile app and website, as well as a modified feature.
  
Mobile and Web  

June - July 2018

User interview
Ideation
Prototyping
Visual design

MY EXPERTISE
APP PLATFORM
DURATION
DESIGN METHODOLOGY & PROCESS
DISCOVER
DEVELOP
DELIVER
DEFINE
Part IV Problem Statement  

Part I
Context review & Background

Part VIII
Forming Design Directions
  

Part II Highlight Feature

  

Part X Branding


  

Part XI Prototype & User flow


  

Part IX
Brainstorm & Iteration

  

Part V Design Goal  

Part VI Hypothesis  

Part VII Insights Finding
  

Competitive analysis

  

User journey

  

Findings


  

Part III Interview


DON’T LET A MISMATCH IN ROOMMATES & LANDLORDS RUIN YOUR NYC DREAM.
— A Redesign Of The Craigslist’s Housing Section In Big Cities
LANDLORDS
TENANTS
“ When landlords need to find someone filling empty units, they have all kinds of hard and soft expectations. Some of them are easily understood by potential tenants, the other might be hard to send across before they have personal communication and vice versa. Tenants dream their own ideal apartment and have numerous requirements. If they don’t list out all of the requirements on both sides, it would be quite hard to reach mutual satisfaction. In this case, people waste time. ”

“ Even landlords and tenants both care about efficiency, they are not willing to sacrifice their privacy to any stranger online; however, tenants’ privacy guarantees the credibility of themselves for landlords and vice versa. Privacy and credibility can be mutually exclusive in this context ”
Therefore, we aimed to create an efficient and trustworthy leasing and renting process that did not intrude on users’ privacy.

Part V
/ Goal
In order to achieve our goal, we came up with four high-level solutions along with the leasing and renting process on both landlords’ and tenants’ sides.

STEP
ACTION
MOOD
Part VI
/Hypothesis
Part IV
/ Problem statement
Tenants care more about the credibility of posting.
Landlords care more about the credibility of potential tenants.
Both landlords and tenants care about their personal privacy.
Finding
FROM THE TENANTS’ SIDE
“You know, people just present the good side of themselves online, and same comes to posting their leasing places pictures online. I got misled by those pictures, and I finally got a real sense when I visited those places onsite, and I found out one of the bathrooms is totally a disaster.”
The efficiency of leasing-related communication comes from potential tenants getting a clear understanding of the criteria in the posts, as well as landlords getting a clear idea and sufficient resources on what to put on their posts.
“Time is money.” — Efficiency matters a lot to people live in big cities.
However, those criteria can vary depending on different situations.

Finding
“Lots of people contacted me and they did not read carefully my ads, failed to do the research around the area. Only 3 out of 10 people satisfied my renting criteria, and I need to spend too much time on replying those questions.”

“Even it can be annoying sometimes, seeing many people contacting me, I feel confident about leasing my place."

“The price can be negotiated, because somehow I don’t know how much do other people list their price, and many other facts also matter, for example, timing, leasing time period etc."

FROM THE LANDLORDS’ SIDE
“I like craigslist and hate it. It brings many potential tenants to contact me, but I don’t know their background and don’t know where to check.”
“I know it sounds double standard, I won’t put personal information online but only the information about my place, because I care about my privacy, and nowadays, people would google, linkedin you even without seeing you in person.”

FROM THE LANDLORDS’ SIDE
We conducted interviews with 7  NYC Craigslist users— landlords and tenants, and we found out that…
Part III
/ Interview
Stage 4
Stage 3
Stage 2
Stage 1
By filtering the standardized information about housing and potential tenant posts, landlords and tenants can decrease miscommunication and save time.
Find a third person who knows both tenants and landlord to build a relationship and increase accountability.
Use VR devices to look around the room.
No more wasted time on traffic.
The website serves as a third-party mechanism for landlords to manage deposits.
E-mail Communication
Onsite Visit
Negotiation and
Decision Making
STANDARDIZING HOUSING INFO
Easy to realize, but need to pay attention to the housing info question tone.

hard to realize, so anything to substitute?
LEVERAGING VR TO VIEW APARTMENTS

NETWORKING TO ENSURE TRUST
Not easy to find the person, so any other way to create the relationship?


DEPOSITING THROUGH A SECURE PLATFORM
It does not align with the Craigslists’ product positioning
Based on the interview we conducted, we drew a user journey from checking out/posting ads to signing contracts on both landlords’ and tenants’ sides.
User journey
Christina is a junior student at Columbia University in New York City.
She leased a two-bedroom apartment near school. During the summer vacation, her room will be subleased for three months. Drafting the ad and posting it on Craigslist is the first step…
And along the drawing process, we synthesized findings from interview to insights
Supposing there is a number of A criteria need to be matched and known, in the ideal case(Match time: time1, Communication time: time2):
( if time1 = 0, time 2 = A*n, time total = An)
( if time1 = 1, time 2 = (A-1)*n, time total = An-(n-1))

( if time 1 = A-1, time 2 = 1*n, time total = A+n-1)

( if time 1 = A, time 2= 0, time total = A)
It means in terms of efficiency(time spending), precise presenting and matching criteria is way more important than communication.
If leaving those criteria some space, it actually makes it flexible for different conditions.
Efficiency comes from precise presenting and matching criteria before starting communication.
Guaranteeing the trust of landlords and tenants without sacrificing their privacy is a key point.
Tenants care more about the credibility of leasing places
Landlords care more about the credibility of potential tenants  
Both landlords and tenants care about their personal privacy.  
Competitive analysis
In order to validate our hypothesis, we did a competitive analysis for several housing apps — from their overall goals and target users to detail functions.
DIGGZ
Product’s
goal
Log in with social media
Fill a detailed form
Filters
Send Messages
Backgroud check
Yes
Yes(focus on soft criteria)
No instant messages
No instant messages
No instant messages
Instant messages
Yes(detailed, focus on room’s hard criteria)
Yes(detailed, focus on room’s hard criteria)
Yes(detailed, focus on room’s and building’s hard criteria)
Yes(focus on hard criteria)
Yes(focus on hard and some soft criteria)
Yes(not detailed)
Yes
Yes
No
Yes
No
No
No
No
Target users
Find suitable roommates in NYC(Caring more about soft criterias)
People live in NYC
People live in major cities
- College students, younsters
- Aged homeowners whose kids moved out
- Brokers
- People try to finda place to rent and buy in NYC
Find the most compatible roommates and rooms in major cities
Nesterly is a trusted service focusing on  intergenerational home sharing
Find Apartments Condos, Co-Ops, Lofts & Homes For Sale & Rent in New York City
Roomi
Nesterly
Street easy
Regina is a visiting scholar from National University of Singapore. She will conduct academic research at Columbia University over the summer.  Finding a room to temporarily reside is the first step as a New Yorker!
Part VII
/Insights finding
We formed our design directions from two insights, shown as follow:
PRECISE PRESENTING AND MATCHING
COMMUNICATION
Standardizing housing criteria to help landlords and tenants to know what to post and what to look for.
Leaving those criteria some space, it actually makes it adaptable for different conditions.
Avoiding repetitiveness during communication.
TRUST
PRIVACY
Making sure some personal info will not be let out at the very beginning.
Forming a short-term relationship between landlords, potential tenants and a third person to increase credibility.
Part VIII
/Forming design directions
Round I
Round II
Round III
From choosing criteria to the instant message
Arrange criteria questions to different sections
Change criteria to necessary preset questions
Change feedback to the progress bar
Modify the question tone
Encourage landlords to add short videos
Add feature - invite previous tenants to join the chat
Add progress feedback
Part IX
/Brainstorm and iteration
TYPOGRAPHY — Open Sense
Not too much difference from regular to bold of its weight
Meet the commercial tone
CREY COLOR — BLUEISH & LIGHT
Light web and mobile apps —ease the impatience and carelessness along the way.
Align with the primary color
PRIMAR COLOR — BLUE
Not a mixed color (Make users easy to recognize and remember.
Commercial oriented (neutral and efficient)
Open Sans SemiBold 28
Open Sans Regular 18
Open Sans Regular 14
Open Sans SemiBold 12
Part X
/Branding
Mobile - Landlord Side
Web side
Try as landlord
Try as tenant
Email Communication
Onsite Visit
Negotiation and
Decision Making
Stage 5
Stage 3
Stage 2
Stage 1
1. Write the ad and post it in the room & sublets section.
2. Refer to what other people wrote on their ads and imitate theirs to make my own.
Received 45 emails from potential tenants.
Reply to their questions
one by one.
Receive Emails
Reply Emails
1. Explain the lease details.
2. Figure out the soft aspects of potential tenants.
1. Discuss contract clauses and move-in details.
2. Sign the contract.
- Regret: I should have posted something to avoid confusion.
Happy but exhausted: finally get the deal done.
- Happy: Great - someone is interested in my post.
- Confused: What content should I include in the ad?  I am confused about what my tenants want in the post.
- Cautious: I feel uncomfortable releasing my number. Email is enough. (Privacy)
- Upset: Why tenants are asking something I have posted? Should them read clearly what’s on my ads?
- Impatient: Repeatively reply to similar information.
- Cautious: Need to know more personal background of anyone who is going to move to my place.
LANDLORDS
STEP
ACTION
MOOD
Stage 5
Stage 3
Stage 2
Stage 1
Search Information
Email Communication
Onsite Visit
Negotiation and
Decision Making
Send out emails
Waiting for replies
- Cautious: I doubt the credibility of some posts, because some of these pics look too fancy to me, and it seems not real. I need to be careful. (Credibility)
- Annoying: Whether the landlord read the emails or not?
- Disappointed: The picture on the post didn’t show the kitchen is this small.
- Happy but exhausted: finally get the deal done.
- Inpatient: Why am I typing the similar and repetitive information?  
- Impatient: Repeatively reply to similar information.
1. Draft email content
2. Repeatedly send them to 35 landlords
1.  Click into the rooms&shares section and choose the filter options
2. Browse through information in each post
1. Communicate through emails
Check amenities and facilities
1.Discuss contract clauses and move-in details
2. Sign the contract
TENANTS
STEP
ACTION
MOOD
Yesterday
See you on Sunday.
Tony Stark
Daniel DeVito
Haha, it sounds very cool!
12.55 PM
Pavel Durov
10:37 AM
Still not finished with him.
Roman Abramovich
Is the unit still available?
1.21 PM
Chloë Moretz
Yes, the price is about $2000.
Monday
Erin Chou
Would you mind telling me the ad…
3.32 PM
3:34 PM
Sure, I am available from
5 PM - 7 PM.
3.32 PM
Erin Chou
Sophia Adams
3.32 PM
Type a message...
Erin Chou
Message
Invite
3:34 PM
I hope all is well. I am definitely interested in subletting the room.
Wondering if I can attend the open
house on next Saturday?
Would you mind telling me the
address?
Sophia Adams joined the group
Hi, I am Sophia, Andy’s roommates. And we have been roommates for 10 months.
Because this place is quite good, we also want to find a suitable roommate as well. I am a product manager working at midtown. What do you do for the living?
Erin Chou
Message
Invite
return
space
123
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f
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Sure, I am available from
5 PM - 7 PM.
3.32 PM
3.32 PM
Type a message...
3:34 PM
I hope all is well. I am definitely interested in subletting the room.
Wondering if I can attend the open
house next Saturday?
Would you mind telling me the
address?
Search for messages
Yesterday
See you on Sunday.
Tony Stark
Daniel DeVito
Haha, it sounds very cool!
Pavel Durov
10:37 AM
Still not finished with him.
Roman Abramovich
Is the unit still available?
1.21 PM
Chloë Moretz
Yes, the price is about $2000.
Monday
Erin Chou
Would you mind telling me the ad…
3.32 PM
3:34 PM
Delete
Invite
Invite current tenants to discuss with the potential tenant to see if he/she is suitable.
Send through
text
Send through
email
Erin Chou
Message
Invite
return
space
123
m
n
b
v
c
x
z
l
k
j
h
g
f
d
s
a
p
o
i
u
y
t
r
e
w
q
Sure, I am available from
5 PM - 7 PM.
3.32 PM
3.32 PM
Type a message...
3:34 PM
I hope all is well. I am definitely interested in subletting the room.
Wondering if I can attend the open
house next Saturday?
Would you mind telling me the
adderess?
FREQUENTLY USED
The address is 503 West 33th Street, Apt 4b …
My room is not available anymore.
The open house date is Saturday, June 23.
The leasing length is about three months.
The closest transportation is N, Q, R.
Erin Chou
Message
Invite
return
space
123
m
n
b
v
c
x
z
l
k
j
h
g
f
d
s
a
p
o
i
u
y
t
r
e
w
q
Sure, I am available from
5PM - 7PM.
3.32 PM
3.32 PM
Type a message...
3:34 PM
I hope all is well. I am definitly interested in subletting the room.
Wondering if I can attend the open
house on next Saturday?
Would you mind telling me the
adderess?
FREQUENTLY USED
The address is 503 West 33th Street, Apt 4b …
My room is not available anymore.
The open house date is Saturday, June 23.
The leasing length is about three months.
The closest transportation is N, Q, R.
Delete
Erin Chou
Message
Invite
return
space
123
m
n
b
v
c
x
z
l
k
j
h
g
f
d
s
a
p
o
i
u
y
t
r
e
w
q
Sure, I am available from
5 PM - 7 PM.
3.32 PM
3.32 PM
Type a message...
3:34 PM
I hope all is well. I am definitely interested in subletting the room.
Wondering if I can attend the open
house on next Saturday?
Would you mind telling me the
adderess?
FREQUENTLY USED
The address is 503 West 33th Street, Apt 4b …
My room is not available anymore.
The open house date is Saturday, June 23.
The leasing length is about three months.
The closest transportation is N, Q, R.
Type a quick reply…
Add
Cancel
Erin Chou
Message
Invite
return
space
123
m
n
b
v
c
x
z
l
k
j
h
g
f
d
s
a
p
o
i
u
y
t
r
e
w
q
Sure, I am available from
5 PM - 7 PM.
3.32 PM
3.32 PM
Type a message...
3:34 PM
I hope all is well. I am definitly interested in subletting the room.
Wondering if I can attend the open
house next Saturday?
Would you mind telling me the
address?
FREQUENTLY USED
The address is 503 West 33th Street, Apt 4b …
My room is not available anymore.
The open house date is Saturday, June 23.
The leasing length is about three months.
The closet transportation is N, Q, R.
Invite current tenants to discuss with the potential tenant to see if he/she is suitable.
Send through
text
Send through
email
Search for messages
Yesterday
See you on Sunday.
Tony Stark
Daniel DeVito
Haha, it sounds very cool!
Pavel Durov
10:37 AM
Still not finished with him.
Roman Abramovich
Is the unit still available?
1.21 PM
Chloë Moretz
Yes, the price is about $2000.
Monday
Erin Chou
Would you mind telling me the ad…
3.32 PM
3:34 PM
Delete
Invite
Open a chat
Swipe left to delete a chat
Swipe right to invite a third person to join the chat.
Invite a third person to join the chat.
Invite a person through email or text
Choose a quick reply
Delete a quick reply
The third person join the chat
Add a quick reply
Search for messages
Yesterday
The building has a free swiming pool.
Jim Chan
Marvin Hodges
My address is 72E, 52th street.
1.05 PM
Samuel Joseph
11:23 AM
There are currently 2 other tenants.
Dora Howard, Jane Roberts, me  
The open house date is Aug/9...
1.18 PM
Chloë Moretz
No, the price doesn’t include wifi.
Monday
Elon Musk, Sophia Adams, me
Because this place is quite good…
3.32 PM
3:34 PM
Message
Invite
3.32 PM
I hope all is well. I am definitly interested in subletting the room.
Wondering if I can attend the open
house next Saturday?
Sure, I am  available from 5 PM - 7 PM
Elon Musk
Would you mind telling me the
address?
3.34 PM
Sophia Adams joined the group
Hi, I am Sophia, Andy’s roommates. And we have been roommates for 10 months.
Because this place is quite good, we also want to find a suitable roommate as well. I am a product manager working at midtown. What do you do for the living?
Sophia Adams
Type a message...
3:34 PM
Open a  chat
“Two sides of the same coin” — credibility and privacy are two sides of the leasing process.



Finding
“I got really frustrated when a landlord didn’t reply to me for a day, I have no idea about the availability of that place.”

FROM THE TENANTS’ SIDE
Is your place still available?


What about this wednesday?


Where is the address?

Instant reply plays a major role in efficiency in today’s fast-paced society.

Finding
Part XI
/Prototype & User flow
Check Out Final Design
Back To Top
Mobile - Landlord Side