Placebook: Apartment Finder

image from final report

Placebook main interface including criteria selection, results map, and saved searches.

Skills Used

  • User Research
  • Iterative Design
  • Prototyping
  • Scenarios
  • User Testing


The goal of this project, which was for an information visualization class, was to design a visualization that would help someone solve a real-world complex problem. A complex problem was defined as a problem in which a user must interpret many pieces of data together in order to make decisions that are not clear cut.

What we did

We began initially with the idea of designing a visualization to help people choose a transportation method, but our early conversations with users did not generate much interest. Potential users we spoke with were, however, interested in an apartment finding visualization. Our early research involved interviewing people who had performed a housing search recently and evaluating current housing search websites.

We used an iterative design process in which we generated a design or multiple designs for a particular feature, tested them with users, and then re-designed with that feedback incorporated. The life cycle of this process can be seen in the final report and presentation documents linked below. In the end, we had a design that will help apartment finders select and filter information with real-time map-based results. They can also save results to come back to them at a later time.

Group Members

  • C. Collins
  • M. Scholl
  • R. Thompson