Design Considerations 1: A new series, starting with the dating service to rule them all

Apparently something that is really valuable out here is a concept called “Intuition”. As best I can understand, Intuition is the innate sense of what a user will want in a product, and it has serious applications to something as iterative as tech product.

So I was thinking about a variety of products and trying to figure out what users will want—past basic table stakes like reliability, speed, multi-platform, and LOCOMOSO. I’m breaking it down into broadstroke “types” of products, like “An Uber-like sharing economy app”, or “A Jawbone-like personal fitness and lifelogging service.” In the style of Silicon Valley, they will be “Like Lyft, but for design considerations” or “Like FitBit, but for design considerations”.

First up is the design considerations of Tinder.

  • Anonymity- it’s embarrassing for your friends to find out that you’re trawling for love on the Internet. There’s still an unbidden pause that accompanies the phrase “Oh, we met on the Internet.” And yet complete anonymity is impossible because you’re sharing some of your most intimate details with the world.
  • Sensation of crippling rejection- the beauty of low-touch, swipey, match-dependent Internet dating is that it separates you from getting rejected or, worse, never hearing anything back.
  • Fun/fast- it takes little time and attention, and I hear people at working “taking Tinder breaks”. That’s amazing.
  • Balancing depth with expediency- you want to show the interesting parts of your personality. That can be done with pictures, but it works best in words and video. But then you have to put time into it, and who wants to do that.
  • Safety/trust- how can you be sure this guy isn’t a murderer? How can you be sure this woman doesn’t have hella restraining orders? You could link to Facebook and require some table stakes, but that flies directly in the face of Anonymity.
  • Success- how often do you get matches? How often do these convert to hookups/dates/relationships?
  • Define what “success” means- do users come here for a hookup? For a relationship? For friendship?
  • Crackdown on sexting, harassment, and spam- any instance of inappropriate behavior undermines users’ trust in your product. Bundled in this consideration is a robust reporting system.
  • How will people take advantage of the service- catfishing, ads for prostitutes, etc

I’m a big believer in there being a person for everyone, so the ultimate goal is to have everybody on the planet on this site. But how do you get there? You get more people to join by already having all of their friends. It’s a bit of an ourobouros. Barring that, how can you convince people that what this service will eventually be is the end-all and be-all of dating sites? After thinking about it for a while, I’ve landed on the idea of honesty.

Honesty is the name of the game. I like to do in an honest appraisal of myself every few months: How am I feeling? Happy? Sad? Fulfilled? How about physically? Could I stand to lose a few pounds? And how about my personality? Do I honestly think that people like me? Or maybe I need to work on being more positive? Maybe I have some nasty filler word habits.

I believe a dating site that enforces this kind of self-reflection and that has a carrot big enough to justify the pain will not only succeed in happier, more fulfilled couples, but generally better people.

When was the last time you heard anybody talk about their shortcomings on a dating site? And how refreshing would that sort of perspective be to see in a potential partner? Someone who can rationally tally up their pluses and minuses, and actually have the wherewithal to work at their minuses? That would be fucking sexy.

By requiring users to create honest—truly honest—profiles and building in a reporting system that enforces honesty, it should allow users to have deeper, more fulfilling interactions. But more importantly, I hope it will impel some self-love and provide some pivots to diet services, exercise clubs, psychological services, friends, meetups, and everything else from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Online dating is stale. It’s cheap. And it’s patently false. Myspace angles abound, as does the extra inch bump in height. The reason there’s such trepidation over Internet dating is because people LIE on the Internet. There are always questions: “What skeletons are you hiding?”, “When are you going to murder me?”, “How?” My hope is that a service based around honesty—honesty with yourself AS WELL AS honesty with others—will help people to overcome this perception and find some love (and self-love).

 

 

Got an issue? Here’s a tissue…With my name written on it: Alex Dou, and my email: dou.alexander@gmail.com, on it. I like building websites, analyzing Excel, and talking.

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