Mobile App
Interviews
Usability Testing

Matching people with places to live

With few resources available for researching where to move, I designed a solution to help people discover and compare cities.

MetroMatcher

ROLE: Product Designer, UX Researcher

INSPIRATION: The idea for MetroMatcher came to me while working on an assignment for an evening class at the School of Visual Concepts. However, I soon began considering bringing the project to life outside of the classroom.

Project Goals

Help people identify their ideal location

  • Better understand how people research and decide where to move next
  • Determine the best way organize and display information by relevancy and user preference
  • Optimize for discovery to allow users to find options they may have not yet considered
Background & Context

Why create this app?

Roughly 40 million Americans (14% of the population) move each year. [1] While the reasons and distances may vary, in almost every situation, relocating impacts quality of life, financial costs and opportunities, social networks, and many other day-to-day considerations.

Few tools exist to help people compare cities when deciding where to relocate.

After experiencing the lack of resources for comparing cities myself, I set out to design a platform that would help others become better informed and more confident in making this often life-changing decision.

The Process

Research, Interviews & Testing

After researching existing solutions and pivoting my focus to design for the greatest unmet need, I conducted interviews to better understand audience pain points and performed usability testing to improve my solution.

Market Research

Through competitive analysis, I identified the greatest unmet need to be a tool for comparing cities based on personal priorities.

User Interviews & Personas

I interviewed individuals and couples to learn how they make relocation decisions. Based on these conversations, I created personas.

Usability Testing

Leveraging a UI kit, I created a prototype and conducted usability tests to identify areas to improve the app's basic functionality.

Identifying Issues

The Initial Prototype

In the initial prototype, I designed the opening screen to draw attention to the preferences button in the top right corner. However, during usability testing most people instinctually closed the pop-up and instead focused on other parts of the app. As a result, they were not able to get the full value of the app since they weren't viewing a list of cities tailored to their needs.

Identifying Issues

The Initial Prototype

In the initial prototype, I designed the opening screen to draw attention to the preferences button in the top right corner. However, during usability testing most people instinctually closed the pop-up and instead focused on other parts of the app. As a result, they were not able to get the full value of the app since they weren't viewing a list of cities tailored to their needs.

Results-Based Updates

New Onboarding Flow

To make sure that every user would get the full value of the app—through having their preferences set to show locations best suited for them—I revised the opening flow to:

  1. introductory screen
  2. preference settings (required)
  3. create an account (required)
  4. grid of cities that match preferences

The updated onboarding flow not only shows new users the true power of the app upfront, it also optimizes for new account creation, benefiting the product from a business perspective.

Results-Based Updates

New Onboarding Flow

To make sure that every user would get the full value of the app—through having their preferences set to show locations best suited for them—I revised the opening flow to:

  1. introductory screen
  2. preference settings (required)
  3. create an account (required)
  4. grid of cities that match preferences

The updated onboarding flow not only shows new users the true power of the app upfront, it also optimizes for new account creation, benefiting the product from a business perspective.

Lessons Learned

Never rely on pop-ups

In hindsight, the fact that designers shouldn't rely on pop-ups feels obvious. However, I suppose I had to experience it firsthand for it to fully sink in. I now understand that if something is important enough to be required, it should be required.

Always do your research

I had initially planned to go in a different direction with this app—more along the lines of comparing cities by cost of living and earning potential—but through competitive analysis, I discovered that solution already existed. In continuing my research, I was able to identify a greater unmet need and design to fill that gap in the market.

Lessons Learned

Never rely on pop-ups

In hindsight, the fact that designers shouldn't rely on pop-ups feels obvious. However, I suppose I had to experience it firsthand for it to fully sink in. I now understand that if something is important enough to be required, it should be required.

Always do your research

I had initially planned to go in a different direction with this app—more along the lines of comparing cities by cost of living and earning potential—but through competitive analysis, I discovered that solution already existed. In continuing my research, I was able to identify a greater unmet need and design to fill that gap in the market.

Case Studies

In-House Marketing Design Work

I've written case studies about the work I've done in my 9-to-5 roles. If you'd like to see any of my other work or discuss these projects in further detail, please get in touch.
Website Redesign
Brand Refinement
Website Redesign
Full Rebrand