Tinder – 2016 version

Tinder app first time user experience

The good bits

  • Although Tinder shows an intro slideshow, noted in “To be improved,” the new user isn’t forced to swipe through it. They can tap the “Log in with Facebook” action to get started.
  • Given Tinder’s typical use case, it is daunting to link the app with one’s Facebook profile. Tinder attempts to assuage this by offering a reassuring note that says, “We won’t post anything to Facebook.“
  • The account verification step in the signup flow does not require the new user to exit the app. It is done by sending the user a text and the user can catch the verification code in the heads up notification at the top of their mobile screen.
  • Tinder provides a user-guided tutorial to allow new users to start playing, providing education in response to their interactions. The first time a user completes key actions, like swiping left or right on a card, the app will display a message reinforcing the action’s purpose with the option to undo. After those messages are seen 1 time each, the app gracefully reduces its level of reinforcement to simple inline cues. In the case of swiping, it silently adds a “Nope” or “Like” label to cards as they move off screen. The same happens the first time the user taps “X” or “♥” on individual profiles.
  • Inline cues are leveraged for empty states and supplemental education. For example, messaging is how users primarily engage with Tinder. If matches never start a conversation, there can be no success, and likely no future engagement. So, Tinder uses the empty state of the messaging section to show a randomly selected conversation starter. “What’s your favorite Tinder story,” “Over 90% of compliments get a response,” and “Cats or dogs?” are just some examples.
  • Another form of an inline cue, Tinder leverages the profile card space to promote new feature discovery, such as GIF messaging. The app uses this sparingly so as to not interrupt day-to-day interaction.
  • The app continues paying attention to the user and proactively asks for feedback. Tinder will ask the user to rate the product after they’ve completed a series of successful interactions over several days. If the user gives less than 5 stars, Tinder will ask if you have feedback for them. And it will let the user know where they can provide more feedback in the future.

To be improved

  • A new user is forced to sign up with their Facebook account. Some Tinder users might have to go out of the Tinder app and create a Facebook account, which might deter them. Additionally, there are loads of concerns with how Tinder will use Facebook, which makes Tinder’s first impression one of concern and worry, instead of one of excitement.
  • Tinder greets the new user with a 3-panel slideshow, an anti-pattern. Interestingly, Tinder’s intro slideshow used to contain 6 images, and now contains 3, which may indicate how uninspiring slideshow content is.
  • After tapping “Start Playing” at the end of the signup flow, there is still more to be done to get the app into a working state. First is the prompt for notification permission, which comes without context. What will Tinder notify users about? This notification appears stacked on top of another permission request, this time for location. Both permissions are inconsistent in their justifications and presentation.
  • The ask for location might be worrisome for some users (although exact location is a known facilitation of Tinder’s primary value proposition). Paid account users can actually override the location setting, but this discovery is hard to make. Since this is a key value for some users, I would suggest Tinder educate and promote this more aggressively.