Creating Trust in a Rental Sharing Economy

Exploration of 360° VR videos on impact of intention to rent a home


LOCATION Stockholm

DURATION 4 months

CONTRIBUTION Individual Contributor

🧑‍🔧 The Need

How to build trust among the students and the landlords when they could meet only remotely

I joined Etttak team to do a research project as part of my Master programme. The team had 2 co-founders at the time.

🥅 Goals

To provide students a better way to understand the elderly landlords and their home than current platforms.

🤠 Outcomes

The usability study showed strong favor for 360° VR videos over regular platforms and better preparedness to meet face to face with the landlords

🔬 Arriving at the Research Question
What is the impact of innovative interaction techniques like VR 360° video on trustworthiness among tenants and landlords leading to the intention to rent a home?

As this was a research study, I started with formulating a hypothesis. Swedish study portal estimates it is very difficult to get accommodation in Stockholm for students. Etttak came up with a platform to connect senior landlords with spare space (55+) and students.

👨🏽‍🏫 Theoretical Foundations - Via literature study

The trust model identifies trust in two dimenstions - Technology and Interpersonal. The model was adapted from relevant literature study.

📜 User Research and Choice of Methods
Why User Interviews?

User interviews seemed to be correct choice for this project as I needed in-depth insights with open ended questions.

I did 5 interviews. I used Thematic Analysis to create 3 coded categories for the insights. This method identifies the recurring points in the data and also the priority of importance for the user.

Check the Full interviews guide and transcripts.

Thematic coding of data below:

Expectations from the home: Pictures, location, comfort, amenities and price

Expectations from the landlord: Relationship, rules, manners, clear communication, interests

Improvements in current practices: More pictures, transparency, local language support

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Customer Journey Map

The journey map details what steps a student may take and expects from Etttak while searching for an accommodation.

✨ Unity Prototyping - Why and How?

Since our idea was to explore the 360 video VR and needs of the students fit for a remote solution, 360° videos could give an immersive feeling of the house and the landlord can talk about their expectations from the student.

I tried A-Frame (a Javascript framework for WebVR) initially but I felt easier to go directly with UNITY prototyping since I found that it is not very difficult to learn.

I had taken a 360° video footage of a landlord who agreed to participate in our prototype testing.

Raw footage from Samasung Gear 360
Stiched 360° footage imported to Adobe Premiere Pro for processing
The first scene allows people to view a home model and they can enter it by gazing at the button "Enter the House"
Unity project development involved importing the processed footage and creating interactions with the movie
The app view in runtime
🧁 Results
Why a usability study for this project?

The time frame for the research project was approximately 4 months. So, I could get limited number of participants. Quantitative methods like "Exploratory Factor Analysis" require above 50 participants. So, qualitative focused usability study seemed a good choice.

A total of 6 participants were tested. I conducted both a survey and post study interviews.

Post study interviews were transcribed and thematically analysed leading to five points of concerns.

Students felt very immersive as if they were in the house

4 students enjoyed the 360° experience

2 students pointed out that video could be of better quality (the camera used was quite basic)

2 students felt dizziness and did not want to continue

Intentions varied - 1 student was ready to use it. Others would wait for VR to become mainstream

🔮 Reflections and Future Work

There were less Early Adopters. Intention to rent by just seeing the 360° video alone is low unless VR is mainstream. Possible use of the 360° VR as a supplement to face to face meetings

360° video is strongly favored for immersion factor. It was considered better than 2D pictures and text on the web

Students wanted a full tour of the house including kitchen and bathroom

Focus on trust from student's perpective. Future work needs to focus on landlord's perspective

More Projects
Tutor Management System for Admins

Keeping track of tutor status and work all in one place

Read In Depth
EatLocal - Sharing Economy for Foodies

Presenting local cuisine as a full food experience for everyone

Read In Depth