Dating App Study

Teammates: Kudzai Chinyadza, Anusha Radhakrishnan, Yu Xu

My Contribution: Subject recruitment, interviewing, data analysis, design direction ideation, design insights, sketching, writing for final document

Overview

This project involved an extensive study of the users of phone-based dating apps like Tinder, OKCupid, Zoosk and others. We wanted to study how people saw these apps, how they used them, and whether or not they felt successful.

Problem

We were tasked with studying intimacy through design research methods, and create design directions based around our research.

Methodology

We began with a recruiting survey, attempting to schedule in-person interviews. We were able to find 3-5 people willing to do in-person interviews. However, we found much more success engaging subjects directly on the apps themselves.

  • Subject recruitment through Craigslist, classified ads, and through various dating apps
  • Survey
  • Interviews with 10-15 subjects
  • Modified Diary Study/Interview which occurred within the app experience
  • Contextual inquiries on how subjects use the various apps
  • Digital Artifact Diagramming, a method of our own design, which organized Tinder profile pictures to see trends.
 Digital Artifact Diagramming, which organizes images based on categories to find trends in the data.

Digital Artifact Diagramming, which organizes images based on categories to find trends in the data.

Major Insights

  • Most users of these apps feel very unsuccessful
  • When using a group picture, men frequently include pictures of themselves with other women in their profile images, while women almost exclusively feature images of themselves with other women.
  • One of the most difficult things for a user of a dating app is being able to start a conversation.
  • Women almost never start conversations on dating apps. They wait for men to make the first comment
  • Many people use dating apps to waste time, rather than attempting to meet someone.
  • Apps make it easy for people with a strong personal appearance to be successful, but users with strong creativity and interesting personalities find it harder to express themselves.
 An example of the surprisingly honest and personal information shared from users of the app within a short time of meeting.

An example of the surprisingly honest and personal information shared from users of the app within a short time of meeting.

Design Directions

Using our research, we imagined many different dating apps and features that could result. These features focused on one of three areas:

  • reducing pressure of sending the first message
  • rewarding creativity rather than just personal appearance
  • increasing safety

Sending the First Message

 This app would allow the matches to play a game while chatting to get to know each other, removing the pressure of having to come up with a clever opening line

This app would allow the matches to play a game while chatting to get to know each other, removing the pressure of having to come up with a clever opening line

 This feature would allow a user to suggest an entire evening, giving the potential date an idea of the activities that they might enjoy sharing with the user.

This feature would allow a user to suggest an entire evening, giving the potential date an idea of the activities that they might enjoy sharing with the user.

Rewarding Creativity

 An app that uses a short video introduction, rather than an image. This was designed to reward creativity, rather than just personal appearance.

An app that uses a short video introduction, rather than an image. This was designed to reward creativity, rather than just personal appearance.

Increasing Safety

 This app would allow people to meet at an event, rather than one-on-one. The number of individuals should increase the safety of individuals attending.

This app would allow people to meet at an event, rather than one-on-one. The number of individuals should increase the safety of individuals attending.

Reflection

In this project during my first year of grad school, I learned how to organize a larger research project, and explore a more open research space. I also learned a lot about how to build insights from data, and leverage those into real designs. Though we didn't explore these design directions deeply, we were able to ideate quickly and come up with many ideas. This was also an important lesson.

Final Project document with Results