UniMate — A UX/UI Case Study on College Housing

Background info

The UniMate Team

Problem Statement

How might we create a platform for college students to find housing and housemates?

A timeline of our remote six-week sprint

User Research

  • 39.5% of respondents found the housing-searching process to be at least somewhat difficult.
  • The online platform that was used most by respondents to search for housing and/or housemates was Facebook Groups, which was followed by official apartment websites such as Zillow.
  • Students prioritize certain characteristics in their housemates. Over 2/3 of respondents identified good living habits (ex. cleanliness) as “very important” when looking for prospective housemates.


The prioritized pain points we decided the focus on

How might we create a streamlined platform for college students to find housing catered to their needs and live with housemates that have matching living styles?


  • Added a simple student verification process to tackle security concerns.
  • Incorporated a filter-and-compare feature to guide users through their housing search.
  • Created a comprehensive preference selection system to tackle compatibility concerns between housemates.
A few of our initial prototype screens

Usability Testing

  • Unclear Icons: Some of our icons were unclear and inconsistent across the app, mainly the “Save” button and map pinpoints. This led to longer task completion times and neglected elements.
  • Difficult Navigation: Users were confused about how to navigate the app due to an unconventional menu and the lack of back buttons. Several prototyping issues also got users stuck due to limited path options.
  • Convoluted Process: Several users found some steps to be repetitive and overwhelming, such as the profile selection process and save-and-compare screens. They were unsure why a screen was necessary and confused about what to look at and what to do.

Hi-Fi Prototyping

  • Colors: Based on color theory, we chose turquoise, which represents a blend of trust and community, and orange, which represents fun, as our main color palette.
  • Typeface: We chose Univers for its friendly, modern, and simplistic style.
  • Component Styles: We softened harsh corners and utilized icons from Feather Icons, a Figma plugin, as the icons accurately symbolized certain functions in our product.

UniMate: The App


Find Compatible Housemates

Search and Find Housing

Compare Saved Housing

Schedule Tours


  • The COVID-19 pandemic: Our restriction of working remotely led to difficulties with team coordination and maintaining design consistency.
  • A short time frame: Due to academic and other personal obligations, especially during the pandemic, it was difficult to devote our full attention toward conceiving the utmost effective, user-centric design solution.
  • Designing a simple yet streamlined, functional product: While we believe that our current design addresses the problem, we think that there are features that can be further improved and consolidated, such as the survey and housemate matches pages.

Next Steps

  • With more time and resources, we plan to conduct a competitive analysis on other online platforms to better understand our target audience.
  • We would like to make our solution more streamlined and comprehensive through feedback from additional usability tests and consistent designs.
  • We plan to incorporate social media platforms into our app to increase student interaction when finding new housemates.

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