“What’s the deal with online dating?” This sounds like an observational utterance from a non-existent episode of Seinfeld. In 1995, mid way through the incredibly successful sitcom, Match.com was introduced as the first tailored online dating site. Seinfeld, which had a lot to say about dating, completely missed the trend. Twenty years later online dating has proliferated and the old sites like Match.com are joined by new sites like Tinder which are exclusively mobile. Our project addresses the challenges and opportunities in the fragmented world of online dating. Through user research, design and evaluation we will develop a new online dating experience to unravel this rich question.
Our main focus is to improve the experience for the average woman looking to meet someone online. The online dating experience is fraught with horror stories memorialized in blogs, podcasts, news articles and even books. Some seem to exist as purely acts of public derision (and humorous ones) for poor etiquette in these virtual dating realms. Our project will not attempt to solve all of the woes of online dating for women but we will offer up an informed and testable design with the goal to improve what exists. The gamut of what exists provides a great number of examples to learn from, both positive and negative. We will use these examples to support our design thinking.
In this project we are excitedly exploring online identity, computer mediated communications (CMC) and signaling in online dating. We will leverage theories from behavioral economics as well as other models for how people build and manage relationships to provide further direction to our design.