Georgetown Off-Campus Housing

A user report to gain insight on website usability.


Executive Summary

This user experience analysis was conducted for the Georgetown University Off Campus Housing Website in order to better understand user’s journey and their pain points and to recommend ways to alleviate those frustrations. I created a user persona, Sarah Scott based on survey data and qualitative data conducted through an interview. According to Data USA (2014), 51.9 % of attendees are white and white females were the highest amount of students by gender and race and 77.9% of students are enrolled full-time.

Goals of Website
    To provide Georgetown University students assistance with housing search.

 

Recommendations
  • Make the roommate page layout more similar to the apartment search page with multilple rows and columns instead of only rows.
  • Create a tool for roommates to share which housing links they like on the website.
  • Add an email alert list for filtered search options.
  • Require more details from students who already have housing and are just looking for roommates to fill the rooms.
  • Provide more detailed filter for apartments near university transportation.

Research Methods

The main methods used for this report involves a user persona, a qualitative interview and a journey map. These infographics help you understand the survey data from a more empathic perspective.

  • User Persona
  • Journey Map
  • Interviews
  • Survey Data
    • Participants
      • Two graduate students
      • Ages 23-38
      • Females
      • Native English Speakers
      • Unfamiliar with D.C. Metro Area housing
Goals of Research
  • Determine user experience and attitudes through qualitative research
  • Gain insight on usability of website
  • Recommend design solutions to alleviate frustrations
User Persona

Sarah Scott is an incoming graduate student excited to join the Georgetown community but she is overwhelmed with the amount of choices and the price of living in D.C. She is open to living with roommates but wants to be sure they will get along and that they can share ideas on the best place to stay to fit both of their needs. Sarah is frustrated with the moving process and she worries about finding a place that is clean, safe,  close to campus and welcoming to college students. She receives most of her information through email, social media, and Google searches.

 

Journey Map

Sarah first discovers the off campus housing service page through an email inviting her to a housing search weekend at Georgetown. She doesn’t know if she will be able to attend, but she plans to use the website in the mean time to search online. She struggles to find many options that are within her budget and that are close to campus. She considers looking for a roommate to help bring down the cost. While searching for a roommate, she wonders about the details of the housing options for some of the students who say they already have housing secured. There is no clear information about these options. She finds a roommate who is willing to room with her but now they have to work together to find a place that fits both of their needs.


Interview Questions
  • Tell me about how you found out about the web page
  • Why did you use the website?
  • How did you feel about needing to look for an apartment in DC for graduate school?
  • What were your main considerations when looking for housing?
  • What kind of housing were you looking for?
  • How did you feel when you were searching for housing on the website?
  • Were there any things that were frustrating about the website?

Insights

“One thing that was annoying was the roommate profile would only jump to the top if made edits to the page. If you don’t make any edits, it gets sent to the back.”

“I would change the roommate profiles to look more like the housing options and make it horizontal options instead of vertical.”

“The only part that wasn’t helpful was that some roommates would mark that they had a place but they weren’t required to list anything about the place they already had .”

Discussion

Many students attend Georgetown University from all over the world and use this website in addition to other apartment search sites to find their new home. However, students trust that the apartments listed on the off-campus housing page are places other GU students live and that they have a good level of credibility. Sarah was very overwhelmed when she first started her search but receiving an email that led her to GU’s off campus site was reassuring that the university was trying to assist her with the move. Although many of the apartments were outside her budget, she was able to find a roommate from the roommate search page. Some potential features to add would be a discussion board or rating system for students to share thoughts on various apartments in relation to student needs. Like many apartment search sites have review boards, this could be a helpful feature for students who are interested in hearing reviews from other GU students in regards to safety, convenience for transportation for certain programs and more. The list of recommendations below seek to alleviate some of the tension of finding apartments in relation to university transportation like the GUTS bus and provide a more clear and precise experience with finding housing for the school year.

Recommendations
  • Make the roommate page layout more similar to the apartment search page with multilple rows and columns instead of only rows.
  • Create a tool for roommates to share which housing links they like on the website.
  • Add an email alert list for filtered search options.
  • Require more details from students who already have housing and are just looking for roommates to fill the rooms.
  • Provide more detailed filter for apartments near university transportation.

 

Full Report – GU Off Campus Housing Site – Sarah Scott User Story