Breaking down its design and the reasons why
Swipe, swipe, and swipe.
On the surface, Tinder is as superficial as it gets as an application. You’re there to meet others and match with people you deem attractive enough you want to connect with.
However, how Tinder is designed as a mobile application is extremely smart and simple.
Although there are so many other applications like Bumble, Hinge, and more in the market today, Tinder is still known as the original dating application for mobiles. Ironically many of these applications are owned by parent company Match, which has a global monopoly of pretty much all major online dating services.
But we’re here to see how Tinder managed to dominate the dating industry with a simple yet effective design strategy.
Let’s take a look at some of the concepts they employed.
The “Swipe Right” concept
Jonathan Badeen, the co-founder of Tinder, created the “swipe right” concept. This simple action has created such simplicity and helped bring the high levels of engagement Tinder receives.
In a Quora post, he answered himself, Baaden explains that his priority was to get users quickly from Point A to Point B. Historically, dating was a long process where users would create long and drawn-out profiles.
Tinder was to do the exact opposite of this.
Original iterations on Tinder did not actually have the swipe right function and was instead filled with buttons. It would be a fateful morning when Badeen would be wiping the fog away from the bathroom mirror when he discovered how natural the action of swiping right is for everyone. As we know, the rest is history.
Badeen further explained that Tinder’s purpose was to get users to stay on the app as long as possible, so simplifying the match process meant users didn’t need much guidance to use the app. This meant the application itself was sticky from the get-go.
A simple registration and onboarding system
An expected drop off point for many application is at the registration screen.
No one wants to spend a lot of time registering for an account, let alone from their mobile. So Tinder made sure each screen is simple and not distracting, with each step as easy to digest as the next.
Tinder is there not to make your sign up process hard and employs a “card stack or panel” method (more on this later). Even if you forgot your account details, Tinder allows you to re-sign in with your mobile number, making it easy for you to return if you want to.
Every step is quick and requires little to no effort, and by the time you go through multiple cards, your accounts pretty much ready to go, and you can start swiping.
They even added navigational experiences for its users, as seen here on the left.
This makes it even easier for a user to understand how to use the application, especially by making every action as simple as possible.
Instead of ‘swiping’ the user’s photos, Tinder has made it even easier by allowing users to tap through the photos instead.
These gesture-based user experience concepts have become increasingly popularized, and Tinder is right there with it, utilizing it to simplify its user experience.
Card Stack Design
In an interview done with Andrew Rudmann, Director of Product at Tinder, he explains how Tinder utilizes card stack design to get users to focus on one thing rather than multi-tasking a variety of concepts on your mobile.
To compare, a long scroll option allows users to multi-task multiple pieces of content, which is precisely what Tinder wanted to avoid.
“Card stacks are used to make sure everyone has their moment in the sun, and to hyper-focus the person on one task at a time.” — says Andrew Rudmann
Tinder pushes people to make quick decisions on new things, which is exactly what it wants you to do by utilizing card stack design. In this case, the goal is to help users to meet as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time.
Although Rudmann mentions that not every mobile application could leverage card stack design elements, it was exactly what it needed for Tinder.
Implementation of In-app Gestures
Applications use in-app gestures to reduce clutter on the screen, so fewer buttons and instructions take up valuable real estate. This leaves an opportunity to place more valuable content on the screen (in this case, your matches!).
This allows for seamless interactions and creates ease of use for users. With Tinder’s focus on simplicity, there is no doubt that the dating application utilizes all sorts of gestures to avoid complexity on the screen.
Although initially, it started with dragging, it has since implemented other gestures to create an even more straightforward user experience. Apart from ease of use, Tinder also uses gestures to elicit an emotional response.
It’s no coincidence Tinder’s matches and messages screens both swipe right. When the screens are set up in the same way, it creates a metaphorical pile of cards either on the right or left, and attaches the cards with a word like “Nope” or “Like.” — says Andrew Rudmann, Director of Product At Tinder
For an awesome blog all about in-app gestures, check this out.
Tinder was the pioneer of the “swipe right” function and successfully brought dating applications to their mobiles. This is because it focused on a simple but effective user experience that appealed to the millennial audiences, which typically have short attention spans.
Match has since acquired Tinder, but even today, it still remains as the flagship dating application in its portfolio.