Seeking A Better Dating App (UX)

 

Project Title: Seeking a Better Dating App

Program: General Assembly UX Circuit Course

Role: UX Researcher, UX Designer, UX Writer

Description: Love is a mystery, but an ideal user experience shouldn’t be. Dating apps are a staple of modern communication, but it seems like they don’t account for the nuances of human communication (including the fact that some people don’t adhere to commonly accepted social cues).

We all act differently behind screens, but a piece of technology should prioritize our humanity and basic dignity if it’s truly designed to facilitate romantic companionship. I am fascinated by relationships dynamics, social rituals and human connection in general, so I decided to focus on this specific avenue (dating apps) through which our most fundamental needs are being managed.

My work for this project was done in 5 phases, which are summarized below. 

Phase 1

In order to connect with users of dating apps, I created a Discussion Guide sorted into 5 sequential categories: Relationships, Social Life, Technology, Lifestyle, and Dating Apps. Each category contained a list of questions designed to yield productive User Interviews.

Additionally, I created a Feature Inventory and a corresponding summary of my findings as a part of my Research Plan. These peripheral tools helped me understand the differences between the most popular dating apps at the time.

Phase 2

Using this Affinity Map, I sorted responses from my user interviews into trend categories. These trends served as the foundations of a Persona named “Elizabeth.” She is single, 23, and a full-time student.

Click here to download the complete “Elizabeth” persona

My next step was to organize Elizabeth’s ideal features into a prioritized list. I wrote a supplemental prioritization summary to document a rationale for each feature.

  1. Problem Statement & Hypothesis
  2. Solution Proposal
  3. Storyboard
  4. User Flow

Phase 3

  1. Card Sorting
  2. Key Screens
  3. Site Map Content
  4. Site Map
  5. Paper Prototype Test Audio
  6. Research Highlights
  7. Navigation Reflections

Phase 4

  1. Lo-Fi Wireframes
  2. Project Evaluation
  3. Revised Sketch Wireframes
  4. Task Scenarios
  5. Wireframing Self-Assessment
  6. Visual Hierarchy

Phase 5

  1. Plus/Delta Analysis
  2. Revised Sketch Wireframes
  3. Screener Questions
  4. Usability Test Discussion Guide
  5. Post-Test Reflections

UX Focus: Online dating apps

Objective: The overall objective of this project is, through conscious and empathetic design, build a dating app that facilitates genuine compatibility and authentic matchmaking.

Problems Being Solved

  1. A lack of authenticity
  2. Shallow profiles
  3. Communicative awkwardness
  4. The inability to form authentic connections

User Goals Being Made Possible

  1. Efficiently and meaningfully engaging with social connections
  2. Minimizing time spent adjusting to/interacting with apps arbitrarily
  3. Fostering compatibility in an intuitive, engaging way
  4. Fitting dating apps into established lifestyles and routines

Research

  • 3 User Interviews
  • 1 Competitor Analysis
  • 1 Affinity Map
  • 4 Trends
  • 1 Persona
  • 1 Highly Detailed Persona w/ Photo
  • 1 Problem Statement & Hypothesis
  • 3 HMW Questions
  • 1 Storyboard
  • 1 Feature Dream List
  • 1 2-by-2 Feature Prioritization Matrix (Highest Impact/Most Expected @ Top)
  • 1 Prioritized Features Reflection
  • 4 Prioritized Features & Research-Based Rationales
  • 1 Additional Feature Prioritized Post-Reflection

Findings: The most important features (highest impact and expected by potential users based on industry standards) discovered via the research methods outlined in the previous section are:

  1. Images Linked to Social Media Profiles
  2. Job & School Information Required with Bio
  3. Built-In App Emojis
  4. Swiping Only within Curated Groups

*The additional feature prioritized is a highlight & save’ feature for captivating information and content within user profiles. These highlights could also be used to generate substantial messages to matches. The user initiating contact will have final edit privileges, of course.

The research revealed overall user fatigue and surface-level familiarity with all of the main competitors on the market. Authentic interaction has been moved aside in favor of instant gratification, surface-level matching, and “liking” in some way, shape, or form.

There is a tremendous opportunity here to introduce user-friendly, intuitive measures of authenticity that will enable communication and planning while fostering true human compatibility. It’s important to note that, whether someone is looking for something casual, something for one night, or something serious, the same interface can be leveraged if it prompts personalization and honest disclosing of preferences. In other words, Tinder and OKCupid – which have been boiled down to GPS locators with one central purpose – could be recreated within the same interface, depending on the user.

Target Audience: My target audience resembles my primary user persona, Elizabeth. I want to target a “millennial,” educated minority woman since many dating apps seem to require the most buy-in from this kind of person. My target audience is busy, professional, conscious of goals, and open-minded in her search.

MVP: A dating app with social links, a photo, substantial personality and demographic info, and a highlight feature that both notifies matches and generates unique, editable messages on which senders have final edit privileges.

Feature Rationales

  1. Social links will reassure users of authenticity and the promise of human contact
  2. Substantial personality and demographic info will only enhance authenticity in addition to photos that correlate with an intentional, invested user.
  3. Highlighting will prompt user engagement and reward a genuine evaluation of potential compatibility.
  4. An auto-generated message that originates based on highlights ensures an organic option to start an interaction if a user feels awkward or socially unconventional making the first move. Final edit privileges still make everything flexible up until hitting “Send.” Notifying the recipient of such a message will also be an option. There is no implied pressure or ‘type’ of interaction outside of what a user selects, and organic communication should correlate with mutually desired traits/goals.

 

 

 

Constraints: low attention spans, a general focus on images as opposed to profile content, interactive interface complications