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2021 / 10-week / team project

vento & verbi is a set of smart home devices that mediates tensions between roommates. It allows emotion relief and self reflections before confrontation to reduct conflict.


Everyday, roommates who live together in shared spaces have difficulty expressing their emotions when experiencing conflict with one another.

My role

User experience & Storytelling

Using storyboards and journey maps to easily compare between solutions and discover design opportunities. Developing user flows to ensure different use cases are considered. Using workshop and user testings to fight complexity and break problems into an easy to use solution.  

What it does....

Vento & Verbi come in pairs and are owned by each roommates. They allow roommates to indirectly express their emotions by sending messages and implicit signals. Also before sending messages to another, a transitional process between the two devices helps prevent impulsive action caused by momentarily negative emotion.


We interviewed roommates to get more understanding of the problems when living in shared spaces.

Using affinity mapping to organize insights and HMWs, we realized the problem lies on the inconvenience in resolving conflicts.

Research Insights

Emphasis on being comfortable

It's hard to realize the uncomfortable when living with others, thus, it becomes problematic as things begin to build up.


Direct confrontation could be the most efficient way of solving the conflict, but often times it feels awkward and is hard to bring it up to conversation.

Bleeding lifestyles

Roommates have different routines and ways of using the shared spaces. Their lifestyles could bleed into each others, however, not everyone can adapt to the adjustment.


To address and design for our HMW, we ideated over 40 concepts to tackle the challenge we outlined. We down-selected to 3 concepts and made storyboards to help visualize them.

In above concepts, we were trying to reduce the violation of personal boundaries and make in-person confrontation easier to solve the root problem of the conflict.

Participatory Workshop

In order to gained more insights into what causes conflict between roommates and what can resolve them, we conducted participatory workshops with 5 participants using three activities: Role-Play, Making, Card Sorting. And we also walked them through our concept storyboards to receive feedback.

From the insights, we understood that direct confrontation was not preferred and ways of solving the conflicts should be flexible to accomodate to different levels of relationship between roommates.

Conflicts occur amongst roommates when individuals have different understandings of their boundaries.

People have a hard time verbalizing their conflict to others.

When asked to design solutions, many people created scheduling apps that would allow people to share space more fairly and without confrontation.

The way people confront others depends heavily on how long they have known the person and their comfort level.

concept Update

We decided to move forward with the idea that utilizes indirect communication to inform their boundaries. In this way, verbal ambiguity and direct confrontation can be avoided.

A device that you can leverage to indirectly express and communicate your anger through paraphrased messages and inflated balloon.

how might we

enable roommates living in shared spaces to express tension and de-escalate conflict with one another?

Concept Development

We started designing by listing down the task flows to make sure we design for other actions that leads to different scenarios and use cases. Then, we went down to make a special information architecture to understand what input/output and features were needed and how we can implement them.

User testings & Iterations

Using the draft storyboards and journey maps, we did user testings with our peers(designers) by walking them through the flows and mechanical function. And with their feedfack, we continued to iterate the product.

To simplify the form, make it more playful and easier for roommates to express and communicate their anger. At the same time, to create a moment of "pause" before expressing anger.

We replaced the inflating balloon with a pumped up device head that spins. And we changed the number buttons to a dial to make it look more like a communicator. Also we added a crank to give more time for reflection before sending the angry message.

Form Feedbacks

Form is confusing and does not look like it would communicate.

The hexagonal shape on the communicator does not make the spinning super obvious.

The venting device looks cold and the buttons are too large.

Users worried about misuse and how they might use the device to annoy their roommates on purpose.


We again simplified the form to match the friendly aesthetic. And to avoid the misuse, we added frictions to the cranking features which it takes some time and effort to send the message to your roommates device.



This device allows users to get their emotions out before confronting another roommate with a problem.

Paraphrased Switch

Turn on to let Vento paraphrase your speech

“Talk To Me” Button

Press to record and release to finish recording. The message will repeat once after recording.

Default Face

Face changes to meter when the crank begins cranking. The facial expressions react to the user as they are venting.

Progress Bar

Shows the user where they are when winding

Mic + Speaker

Mic records the message and speaker repeats the rephrased message out loud


Turn to process the sending of message. When being wound, the device plays music to help the user calm down

This crank has resistance to allow a user to think before irrationally sending an angry message. This allows for reflection


This device allows users to send messages to their roommates.

Channel Dial

Each number represents the communicator of a roommate. Dial is used to accomodate larger houses and is a more sustainable solution to roommate identification.
During onboarding, roommates discuss which number they want. During setup, they turn the dial to sync their device with the correct channel, and plug the fob to confirm setup.

Delete button

User can choose to delete his message

Message button

Press to send a recording back to Vento.
Button will glow when a message is received.

Rest Mode

When there is no message, Verbi’s head sits on the base

Head Spin

When a message is received, Verbi’s head spins 360 degrees uncontrollably. It is meant to be an urgent and fun notification

Messaging a Channel

Dial the number of which roommate you want to send a reply to. This is to confirm the user is sending to the correct channel


A device that is used to de-escalate messaging by bringing roommates together to resolve issues in person

Roommate Fobs

All fobs are unique to each roommate and their respective number. They utilize magnetic technology in order to stop the verbalizer from spinning & solve conflict when in-person mediation occurs

Stop Verbi’s Spins

Connects to the top of Verbi’s head to stop the voice message from repeatedly playing. This only works when using the fob of the roommate initially sent the message


For our next step, we want to do more usability testing with the final version of physical prototypes. And eventually with the latest update of design, we would like to create a product video to tell better story of the product.

APp / motion tracking
App /  uiuX Design
User Research / UX Design