Tinder - Ice Breaking Ice-breaking on dating apps like Tinder involve initial impression or outside appeal. Introduction of one such feature might help to increase the conversion rate. UX DESIGN | OCTOBER 2018
Ice-breaking on dating apps like Tinder involve initial impression or outside appeal. This may not be in favor of some users and may lead to unnatural conversations. Lack of topics or common interests of the matched individuals may result in less fruitful conversations.
Tinder is a location-based social search mobile app, generally used as a dating app, that allows users to like (swipe right) or dislike (swipe left) other users, and allows users to chat if both parties liked each other in the app (a "match"). This match-matching process, was what I and a senior of mine, Nikhil Goyal, a business analyst thought of working upon. We found that in India, Tinder having a male dominant user base, the chances of a getting a match was quite low. Plus the factor that guys generally swipe right almost every other girl that turns up in their list, whereas the other way round, girls are generally quite choosy. Thus keeping all these factors in mind we proceeded and came up with 3 solutions and finally narrowed down to one!
Why Is This A Problem?
  • Users on Tinder focus on photos and their attractiveness. A study suggests that females consider 80% of males as below average(median) on the attractiveness scale and only 20% above average. This leads to a high competition in the lower 80% owing to less number of matches.
  • Being a chat-based platform a lot of Male users. rely on cheesy pick-up lines and 'funny' one-liners as a means of attracting women due to lack of information about common topics. This may result in awkward silences or unnatural chats.
  • Users with an abundance of matches (typically, women), tend to be picky in their quest to start up a conversation. Since a male user might fail to start up an interesting conversation, this selection might be based on materialistic factors, such as outright semblance of the said match.
  • This ends up only a few attractive men talking to a large number of girls based on their first messages and/or their 'appealing looks', leading to dissatisfaction for both male users as well as female users.
Initial Validation
Considering all the problems we shortlisted, we thought to have a real-life validation, thus created a single question-based form, targeting the male janta. The question asked was:

“Does ice breaking ( how to start a conversation ) on Tinder makes you think a lot?”

To which, we got 127 responses. The result is shown below:
While going through some research papers on dating apps, I got to know that about 50% of the conversations go un-replied. There was another interesting fact that I came across, guys are 5 times more likely to start the conversation than girls. So that’s where we decided that let’s construct something that’s going to aid the guys in starting the conversation, with girls “indirectly” helping them to spark it off.

The best way to do this was to get data from the girls about what their interests are, what are the topics they like conversing and also through these questions we could get to know about their comfortability. To check the consent we later did another survey in which we asked the female janta a simple question:

“Would you be comfortable sharing a little more information about yourself ( taste in travel, food, etc. ) which may lead to meaningful first messages from the guys?”

To which 47 girls responded. The results:
Getting a positive response from the female user base, we sought to take this idea ahead and finally ended up with 3 solutions. During the whole process, we also talked to guys as well as girls individually trying to understand the problem even better and iterating as we proceeded.
Solution 1
It has been observed that people with similar interests tend to enjoy a better conversation thus feeling more comfortable. Thus keeping this in mind we sought to find a solution through which people could get to know about the interests of their match and would initiate the conversation.

Taking reference from music-based apps we thought to provide the users with a set of questions while logging in to get to know about their tastes better. Users will be prompted to select tags of various interest/likes for various criteria. These “Interest tags” would then be displayed on the screen of the user matched with, thus providing topics to start the conversation with.

  • The sign-up procedure becomes lengthy and tiresome.
  • The match may not share interests or may share interests which the other person hates.
  • People might fake their interests.
Solution 2
While working on the solutions, we did a few one-on-one discussions with friends living in cities such as Mumbai, Hyderabad & Bengaluru, from where we get to know that girls there generally get 10-12 matches weekly, sometimes the count even reaches 18-20. So comparing guys and choosing whom to talk with becomes a real issue. And they sometimes even end up talking to guys who’re attractive enough but don’t talk sense.

Thus to tackle this, we thought to stitch a solution where the user, male or female gets a question card as soon as they’re matched. To help initiate the conversation, women will be provided with an option to ask a set of a suggested questionnaire with a newly matched user. The questionnaire would ask for an expressive answer from the user, thus initiating the conversation anyhow!

Plus, this enables female users to sort males based on their responses before the actual chat begins. This serves as an ice-breaking tool as women initiate the conversation.

  • Based on the number of matches per day, women will have to go through numerous descriptive answers which will be tedious.
  • Despite the descriptive feature, the decision to initiate conversation still lies with female users and it is very likely that the ice breaking may not happen, leading to a lower success rate.
Solution 3
The last and the most satisfactory solution that we came up with was a mix of gamification and card based interaction, which Tinder is already well known for. We thought to present information about female users to their male counterparts through an interactive quiz feature.

A Female user would be asked to provide data inputs regarding the quiz questions about themselves. Male users will be asked to guess answers to these questions once matched. These questions would have only two choices as answers, hence brief. Each response by a male user would prompt him as correct or incorrect. This would enable male users to know more about the female user and thus may help in ice-breaking.

  • It is an additional step, thus the conversion rate might be low.
  • Question set might become redundant for the male users if the same question comes up for multiple matches.
Comparison & Conclusion
Keeping the very first rule of UX of maintaining the flow of the app we’re planning to tweak and comparing the three solutions on the basis of Feasibility, Simplified feature, Resource requires and the consistency of the UI, we came up with the decision that Solution 3 would practically be the best way to incorporate ice-breaking in dating apps such as Tinder.

The effect of the introduction of our ice breaker feature will be directly on the users, aiming to improve the user experience of the app as a whole. To verify our selection of the solution, we did a few quick user testing through a prototype and 8 out of 10 found it useful and a worthy addition to the existing application.