What if Dating Apps Did More Than Just Dating?

November 5th 2018
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@josiassejod1Dalvin Josias Sejour

Collection of Dating Apps

Dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid are really great at creating romantic relationships, but what about non romantic relationships like meeting a new friend? It would be awesome if you could use an app that allows you to find a buddy to go Hiking, an extra teammate for your FortNite squad, or event teach you how to cook. Luckily for you we are conducting this research and it isn’t that far fetched.

We made the Encounter Opportunity Browsing Interface to make this vision a reality (figure 1). The concept behind the app — encounter opportunity browsing — entails users browsing through various opportunities for social interaction around them. They can then “like” or “dislike” the opportunities they see, which can inform matching algorithms about the types of social encounters to recommend to them.

figure 1. App Interface

What kind of information do users want about potential social encounters? We ran a user study with students from Montclair State University to explore this question. Key takeaways from the study were:


  1. Participants rather photos and videos versus plain text

It is a no brainer that images are worth 1,000 words, but we didn’t want to assume that on our own. Therefore, we tested the concept out by showing students an interface with only text and one with only images. Although students were able to understand what the event was, it didn’t really sell them to want to attend the event. One quote from a participate Tony pretty much sums up the finding, “[This encounter opportunity] just looks like a whole bunch of fun that you’ll be having with other people because it seems inclusive with everyone else instead of being standalone by yourself.”. The richness of the media is really want drive people to want to engage.

2. Participants value the comments of their friends higher than strangers when it comes to deciding to attend an event

Deciding an event to go to can be a nerve racking process, especially when there are so many varying opinions about it in the comment section. However, we can always count on our friends to influence our final judgment call on it. The fact of the matter is, friends are more credible to us then random people in comment sections because you do not know if the people the comments are friends of the event planners or random users. However, having someone in your corner as a personal advisor will help make a final judgment call.

Future Work

This study is in its infancy but with theories such as Media Richness, Warranting, and Signaling, we have the foundational backings to iterate on this research and continue working on it for further research.

The purpose of this blog post is to shed light on Human Computer Interaction a branch of Computer Science by giving a summary of a paper submitted to CSCW 2018. This will give people a fresh perspective on what is going on in the field and possibly motivate students to get interested in the roles such as UX Design.



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