Roomster

A platform that helps to find great places and people to share a home with.

Summer 2019 internship.

OVERVIEW

Over summer 2019, I got the opportunity to intern in New York as a UX designer at Roomster, a platform that helps in finding great places & people to share a home with. The experience was nothing less than an invaluable crash course in design, systems thinking and workflow management. I got the opportunity to work on a complete product cycle, beginning from user research to designing responsive, scalable Design systems and UI's. Working with a great set of people from design, engineering, marketing and management helped me learn and strengthen a lot of skills which would prove valuable in my journey.

Due to NDA, I am unable to share specific details of the project, but have highlighted the key processes and learning below.

DATE

June 2019 - Aug 2019 (10 weeks)

MY ROLE

Defined and validated product features for a new version of Roomster to be launched around Dec 2019 for its 1,000,000+ user base through collaboration with cross-functional product teams including managers and engineers.

Designed and iterated web and mobile wireframes to prioritize content, simplify user task flows and maintain consistency across platforms.

Defined and maintained a cohesive design system, visual language and component library to achieve consistency and responsiveness over different devices and platforms for android, iOS and web.

Designed UI screens, transitions and micro-animations for engaging and seamless user experience for both android and iOS.

DESIGN PROCESS

EMPATHISE + IDEATE

DESIGN

User Testing

WireFraming

Design System

iOS UI

Android UI

Motion Design

Email Strategy

User research and wireframing.

During the first few days of my internship, we conducted usability tests on existing paper wireframes to better understand the user's thought process while they complete a given set of tasks. Using that feedback, and data from the existing app, I was involved in creating wireframes for Roomster 2.0, a revamped version. The process was highly iterative, incorporating user, business and marketing goals in design

Building a Design System from ground zero

Once the wireframes were finalised, I led the building of scalable a design system and component library that accounted for future business goals while serving the existing app design well. We used Atomic Design approach to guide our process, that allowed :

  •  Consistency and cohesion

  • Faster workflow

  • Collaboration

  • Shared vocabulary

  • Helpful documentation

  • Foundation to expand and improve on 

Designing iOS and android User Interaces

Once the design system was created, I worked on designing User Interfaces for both android and iOS devices. Designing UI's and updating the design system was a very iterative process, with one guiding the other.

For android, we used Material Design Guidelines, and for iOS we used Human Interface Design Guidelines.

Designing interactions and animations

Once the High Fidelity UI and design assets were completed, I worked on making interactions, animations and transitions that would make the whole user experience more engaging and seamless. While most animations were done on Principle, some were done on Adobe Aftereffects.

LEARNINGS

The experience was nothing less than an invaluable crash course in design, systems thinking and workflow management. Working with a great set of people from design, engineering, marketing and management helped me learn and strengthen a lot of skills which would prove valuable in my journey. I have highlighted key learnings below, and the complete article can be read on my medium blog.

Share often & involve stakeholders in design critique to align business goals early on.

The wireframing stage required a lot of decisions to be made, relating to design, engineering, and business. Continuous collaboration and critique sessions with the respective teams to align the goals and design outcome became extremely important. Their feedback helped us put the design into context, and see how small design decisions affect the bigger picture.

Innovate: not only in what you do, but also on how you do it.

A large part of designing, especially when working in teams in a professional setting, is how systematically you achieve it. The workflow to achieve a set target is a system in itself, and like all systems, it can be refined. During my internship, our team consistently refined the workflow, for internal efficiency, and to best suit development needs.

Design for emotions.

One can never overlook the importance emotions play in user experience. A user will always feel something while interacting with your product, whether you account for it or not. It is our role as designers to guide the emotional journey too along with the functional journey. The understanding of color, form, composition, heuristics, and laws of UX play a vital role in achieving a good user experience, and one should use them consciously.

Build Systems that build products.

The design process is never-ending, and a product keeps improving with changing needs and technology. It becomes important to be flexible enough for future goals while delivering a concrete product that excellently serves the current needs. Systems thinking played a crucial part in this journey, and collaborating with my team members, engineers, and managers helped me understand how my current decisions affect the future goals of the product.

Take inititative and leadership to thrive in ambiguity.

Not all problems are tangible and clear for you to solve. This is completely different from a project that I have in the past which you have a clear problem and focus. Thrive in ambiguity is a key aspect of a designer and what I learned is to take the initiative and leadership to utilize resources and ask for support to tackle and clear the ambiguous issues.

Constantly critique yourself.

Challenging your own work is extremely insightful and helps you understand your biases and assumptions. This approach helped me make meetings and discussions with my team members more productive, by allowing more time for discussing refinements and exploring options, rather than basics I could figure out myself as a designer. This approach can be applied to other aspects of life too, and not just to design.

@2019 Shashank Jain  |   sjain@utexas.edu