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MyUnite app allows Unite customers to easily manage their staying at Unite, from connecting to their flatmates through uChat, to logging a maintenance request.

uChat is the app feature that put future flatmates in contact before they move in via a messaging system.

Framing the problem


The MyUnite app, in use for six years, required attention, especially in the uChat feature. Key issues included limitations on displaying chat participant information due to privacy concerns and challenges in reporting abusive text. Changing UI colors proved insufficient to address all UX issues, prompting the need for further work. Analyzing common practices in group chats, two solutions were sketched based on color-coding (like Whatsapp, Snapchat) and profile pics (like Messenger, Instagram). Customer feedback was sought through discussions with 10 users, revealing assumptions about customer experiences. Notably, Messenger was more commonly used than assumed, and Snapchat was a prevalent messaging app not previously considered.

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Exploring solutions

The user research was showing a strong preference for a solution similar to the one adopted by Messenger: less relevance to username, and rely on profile pics to recognize users.My first design iteration was highly relying on this results, including a flow to set a profile pic.Sadly, business requirements and deadlines couldn’t commit to a solution that could take too long to be developed. Several conversations with POs and Developers took place to find a common ground for an MVP that could solve experience issues and was deliverable in the agreed deadlines.

The second main issue identified within the app, the reporting feature, was addressed directly in the redesign of the app. Previously, the “Report a problem” CTA was placed in the channel selection screen. The lack of proximity with the actual text to report was making it hard for customers to understand the purpose of the CTA itself. During the interviews with customers we explored other options, including a more standard gesture of “long pressing” a text to surface actions against it; this one seemed to be the most common learnt behaviour.

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