This New Yorker piece by Ann Friedman explores the imbalance of male-designed dating technology with such an eloquent and understandably squicked-out approach. After all, the whole reason my business exists is because online dating services and products are a TERRIBLE user experience! They’re awkward and clunky; her title “Overwhelmed and creeped out” is how most sane people of either gender usually feel after their first foray into Internet dating.
Ann Friedman identifies the tenets that she thinks women seek in online dating:
…women want authenticity, privacy, a more controlled environment, and a quick path to a safe, easy offline meeting.
She’s right, but I actually think this is what ALL online daters want. They just don’t all know it yet. (Both gay and straight men have other problems to solve on top of these ones, but these are still core to creating a successful and positive online dating experience for any demographic.)
I do think that more women need to get into online dating tech; I see myself possibly heading in that direction someday very far from now. (Hey, hit me up if you want to make that day come sooner.) But I think the core line of thinking that will improve all online dating tech is to think about the emotional impact that each decision makes.
Don’t start by thinking about your metrics; don’t focus exclusively on snappy copyrwriting or new membership conversions. Think about the impact that each and every decision will make on a human level. Think like Whitney. Think about PEOPLE before tech. That’s where I see these sites getting better. ♥