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A user research and concept validation project to add a neighborhood view to the current building rental review website, RentCity.


RentCity provides building reviews and a proprietary score based on crime, building violations & prior tenants' ratings. They asked us to extend the results of their search feature with a neighborhood view.

We began by exploring what renters look for in both an apartment and neighborhood in New York City to validate the need for a neighborhood view. We ended with a design layout for New York City neighborhoods that embraces the most important categories to renters determined by our research interviews

​This two-week sprint involved planning, conducting and synthesizing qualitative user research as well as developing mid- and responsive high-fidelity prototypes for concept validation in partnership with a RentCity stakeholder


  • User Research

  • User Experience Design


Two-week Sprint


A fully remote project with a team of 4 User Researchers and User Experience Designers 



Our team determined that we could establish patterns for what renters want to know about a neighborhood they are considering moving to by conducting user interviews. 

RentCity is currently focused on New York City buildings. Their target demographic for age is primarily millennials but flexible.

So we targeted:

  • those who have looked to rent an apartment in the New York City area in the last 3 years

  • age 25-44

We conducted 4 user interviews remotely via Zoom.

Our screener survey indicated 4 emerging categories of importance in regards to renting in a specific neighborhood for 9 respondents:

  • Transportation - 100%

  • Cost of Rent - 90%

  • Location - 80%

  • Restaurants & Night Life - 70%

We used affinity mapping to find patterns in our observations and develop insights from our user interviews. A number of categories/topics of importance in regards to renting within a specific neighborhood emerged:

  • Average cost of rent

  • Access to transportation & subway lines

  • Safety

  • Access to outdoor space

  • Balance of commercial & residential presence

  • The look, feel & characteristics of a neighborhood


From our insights we developed the persona, Rachel, who has the goal of better understanding the nuances of a neighborhood she is considering moving to. 

Rachel allowed us to further summarize our research and insights into a problem statement that addressed her pain point of being unable to find enough information to get a sufficient feel for a place prior to moving there

Renting Rachel's Problem

Rachel needs a trusted source to find comprehensive neighborhood information because she struggles to understand the nuances of a place, prior to moving there.

How might we make the search for a new neighborhood more fun?

How might we make Rachel feel "connected" to the neighborhood without seeing it in person?

How might we create a space for tenants to share their living experiences?

How might we incorporate storytelling in the neighborhood search?


We looked at a number of sketches that incorporated what our research insights indicated NYC renters wanted to know about a neighborhood with our RentCity stakeholder - in order to address user and business needs. 

From our sketches, we developed a mid-fidelity prototype that provided users with a scrolling view of a neighborhood.

Highlights of our overall neighborhood view included:

  • Overall feeling of the neighborhood:
    Keywords, images & details from user submitted reviews would provide a sense of the neighborhood


  • Similar Neighborhoods:
    Users could find other neighborhoods that fit their budget or keywords of importance to them that they had not considered before


  • Top Rated Buildings:
    The top rated buildings would be highlighted for users to explore



Our mid-fidelity prototype tested well as users were able to find the information that would be important to them in researching a neighborhood.

We then used the established branding to increase the fidelity of the prototype.

Highlights of our high-fidelity neighborhood view included:

  • Changing the map interactivity:
    Our mid-fidelity usability testers did not interact with the toggle buttons of the prototype; we decided to tie in the top rated buildings with discoverability via the fixed map & update the heading to the more playful, "What Chelsea residents are saying".


After increasing the fidelity of the desktop prototype, we worked to make our design responsive and mobile-friendly. 

Highlights of our high-fidelity mobile overall neighborhood view included:

  • Navigation:
    We used a similar pattern that other mobile websites utilize for long horizontal menus. We maintained the legibility of the menu by making it horizontally scrollable and provided access to the overall menu via the kebob menu.



This project was an excellent opportunity to learn the balance of meeting user and business needs. 

Our solution tested well and the stakeholder was pleased:

  • initial implementations will not have the images and reviews of nearby businesses as that must be built up through a significant number of new user reviews

  • we were able to provide a roadmap for further future build out and potential monetization


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