Fair & Square

Fair & Square is a rental calculator application that considers room sizes and income, helping people split and pay their rent easily. 

  • Client: Will Lundy

  • Role: Product Designer

  • Tools: Figma, Illustrator

  • Team: Engineer + Me

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The Team

Will Lundy is an engineer who approached me about his app idea. Throughout this process, we worked together to design an application that we knew would be something he could code in Xcode. Engineers and Designers speak very differently and learning how to bridge that gap was educational for us. 

The Problem

Rental calculators are not comprehensive enough to cover multiple rooms, who uses them, and how much each tenant makes. Using more exact details will help each tenant feel they are paying their fair share. 

The Solution

Fair & Square helps calculate what everyone owes and helps keep track of rent payments. Income is a factor with the ability to change how much it factors in. Extra rooms like private closets and bathrooms are taken into account. 

Competitive Analysis

Splitwise

Easy to split bills and rent with roommates. You can pay through the app. Can only pay equally or by %, doesn’t help split rent based on specific factors. They have a website feature outside of the app that loosely values the rooms based on things like windows, closets, and bathrooms. 

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Spliddit

Somewhat split rent and bills. The demo feature is excellent; I can see how it works clearly. They have a helpful feature to rate the room's perceived values on sliders; every roommate can order it. Processing took a long time, and no other values like room measurements or income were considered. 

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A website to help split rent. This calculator is straightforward. It’s brilliant how they give the total square footage and each room, so it is a simple way to break the shared space equally. It also accounts for private bathrooms automatically, assuming they are 100 sq feet, and it doesn’t include income and makes the user calculate room sizes outside the website. 

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How this affects Fair & Square

We want to emulate the ease and widely adopted nature of Splitwise but focus on fair rental splits and developing from there. There is a place for us in the market to enter competitively as a detailed and customizable way to make every tenant feel like they are paying a fair amount.

User Interviews

"My roommate and I just guessed a number, but their room is so big and they have their own bathroom."

"I pay less because I've been living in my place much longer than the other roommates"

"My roommate makes double what I make, and their room is much bigger than mine, I'd like to factor in pay just a little bit."

"We use Venmo to pay rent."

"It would be nice to have a small rent reminder and show when a roommate has paid rent."

What I learned from talking to people

Multiple factors go into a fair rent situation. Everyone must agree on the characteristics, see the results, and agree on those together. Room size, length of stay, income, and special features like private closets or bathrooms matter to people. 

 Ideation

I was given this sketch by the engineer I am working with. We discussed the essential features to set our app apart in the app store. I strongly felt that having income be a factor would set our app apart as a rental calculator. There were already apps that helped pay rent and split bills. 

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Wireframes + Flows

From here, we pivoted features and kept many of the concepts laid out in this sketch. We took out "compare rent" and "find a roommate." We reorganized the information architecture. 

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Hifi screen designs

Next, I started fleshing out logo and screen designs in my design process. Here are some screens I created but didn't make it through. I like to design many very different screens and iterate, showing my designs to people and seeing which one they respond best. I had to view the screens on both iPhone and Android; the colors can vary a lot from device to device. 

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Final screen design