Dating thoughts

A lot of us also operate on faulty interpretation of the “don’t listen to what your users are saying, but what they’re doing” philosophy.

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We Are Trainers Also, we fail to recognize that the “Y” experience we give to users might actually affect their psychology — training and conditioning the way they think and behave. There are a thousand like her right in your pocket. It was too difficult to think of some way to go up to her anyway, right?

Dating apps are a great, and highly visible, example of this. We’ve taught people not to date, because it was easier to build a distraction than a solution for dating. A reasonable, and very scientific, solution was to broaden people’s dating pools in the hopes that they would be able to find better potentials. Theory is solid, but people are prone to fall into traps for what’s easy and instantly gratifying. This would be one thing, because you’d expect people would eventually wake up to the reality that they’re not getting what they need out of the app. The larger problem lies in the fact that we not only distract, we also train.

The way dating apps have been set up, users are conditioned to expect endless options, and to play the game of winning the “best matches”. Swipe around a bit, get sucked in, and you’ll end up tired or late for your next meeting or interested again in that Netflix show you’ve watched three times. People still remembered asking for dating, but now it seems weird and almost backwards of them to want to do so. It’s too difficult to try to coordinate a meet-up, anyway.

Over the past few years, the app-making industry has been enthralled with its ability to design “engaging” user experiences. Would we rather keep them in our app than out on dates?

Captivating enough to get people to do things like drag their thumbs across screens literally billions of times, we have the incredible ability to capture people’s eyes, minds, and hearts. Hey, we’re just doing our jobs and we’re doing them so well that people don’t even want to go out on dates anymore.

But are these apps also helping users achieve their dating goals? Or have we prioritized engagement over helping users achieve their goals? They are designed by us experts to be maximally addictive, combining a simple, repetitive interaction with one of the most fundamental motivations in humans–to be validated for being attractive to others.First, we’ve confounded engagement with the delivery of value.Second, we are terribly unaware of our role in conditioning people to change their thoughts and behavior.Engagement ≠ Value The mobile app industry, in general, is largely driven by engagement metrics when it should be driven by metrics indicating that a product or service helped a user achieve her goal.The problem is, engagement often drives monetization in this ad-driven “free” app economy.

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