Sublet is a mobile app that helps university students find and post sublets for short-term housing. It is strictly accessible by students with an .edu email. College students are the target audience because this age group is prone to traveling for internships, college, and etc. which require short-term stays.
This concept was inspired by my sublet-hunting experience when I interned in Boston. I experienced many frustrations that included not knowing where to seek for housing, not knowing if a list price included utilities/deposit, finding a place that was furnished with laundry, and finding roommates that were my age. Sublet solves all of those problems.
My goal was to evaluate desirability to determine if users find Sublet useful. In particular, I wanted to understand if my design captures the key factors that sublet-hunters and seekers tend to prioritize in their search.
Though Sublet was mainly inspired by my personal sublet-hunting experience, I talked to a 3 college students and discovered that their primary pain point in posting or seeking sublet options is the lack of platform that exists to support a comprehensive, organized method to keep track of sublet posts, connect with hosts, and view cost details.
Taking these learnings and personal experiences into consideration, the main features of Sublet include: filtration (price, semester/quarter school, neighborhood, etc.), a request form, inbox, cost breakdown, host information, and secure payment options.
To carry out these ideas, I created site maps, sketches, wireframes, and hi-fi interactive prototypes with two usability test sessions (one after wireframes and one after the interactive prototype).
To determine the usefulness of Sublet, I conducted two usability test sessions; once after creating the wireframes and a second time after creating the hi-fi interactive prototypes. There were 3 participants in the first testing session and 8 in the second session. I applied feedback from the first testing session to the first hi-fi iteration and feedback from the second testing session to my final hi-fi iteration which can be viewed in the video above.
Overall, findings from both usability test sessions greatly supported the usefulness of Sublet. Detailed findings from each test session is outlined below.
USABILITY TESTING SESSION 1
User Testing using printed copies of the wireframes and a cardboard model of an iPhone.
Feedback from 3 participants:
USABILITY TESTING SESSION 2
User testing after first iteration of the interactive, hi-fidelity prototype on a mobile device.
Feedback from 8 participants:
Based on feedback from the usability test sessions, I found that my concept is useful and my designs were effective in conveying my ideas. Many participants commented that my hi-fi prototype felt "beautiful," "clean," "sleek," "useful," which not only prove the aesthetics of the app, but also the usefulness which was my design goal.
WHAT WORKED WELL
Overall, my concept was really appealing to participants and my choice of color, images, and typography in the hi-fi prototype maximized the aesthetics of the app. Many participants appreciated how thoughtful I was in creating an app that was inspired by my personal experiences and commented that I was very intentional in coming up with features that were practical and necessary. One of my participants even commented, "I bet you can make a lot of money if this app became a real thing. You should consider pitching the idea somewhere."
Given more time, I would have conducted more user research via surveys to get a better understanding of what my target users want/need in Sublet. I would've also liked to design concepts for the host experience rather than just the seeker experience. Lastly, I would experiment using a different tool to create my hi-fi prototype because I encountered several glitches while using Proto.io, particularly in clicking on hotspots on a computer.