Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Clodagh McCarthy 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

I am soon to be a graduate of the BSc Applied Psychology. During my time at IADT, my technology modules have helped me develop a keen interest in UX/ UI design and in particular the area of accessible design. Research into accessible interface design is in its infancy and so I would like to continue on to do a masters in UX design to help me become a well rounded designer who is considerate and inclusive of all users. I have secured funding from the George Moore Scholarship Programme for a masters course and will begin my studies in the UK in 2023.

Project Description

Online dating has modernised the way in which people connect with and meet potential partners. While there is an abundance of research into the use of online dating and modern dating apps, there seems to be a lack of research into how the design of these apps impacts the way in which we use them. Interface design can either aid or inhibit successful use of a product and effect peoples' perception of the product as a result. For this reason, this project took a qualitative approach and interviewed participants about their individual experiences of using the dating app, Tinder.

Project Objectives

This project aimed to look at the interface design of Tinder and how that impacts the way in which people perceive and engage with the app. The project also examined how the interface can have an impact on the way participants make choices online, as well as how they interact with potential matches on and off the app. Understanding a user's opinions of and attitude towards the app would highlight both satisfactory and dissatisfactory elements of the interface design. The project aimed to answer three research questions:

RQ (1) How do users perceive and engage with the interface features that Tinder offers?

RQ (2) How does the gamified user interface of Tinder impact on how users choose and interact with potential matches?

RQ (3) How does the amount of choice available on Tinder impact on how users choose and interact with potential matches?

Project Outcomes

Through one to one interviews and analysis of the interview transcripts, four main themes were identified in the results of the project. The first theme described the way participants view Tinder as a game or a social media, rather than a dating tool. The second theme looked at how the interface and profile features on Tinder can help a user gauge compatibility (or lack thereof) with a potential match. It was clear that the way participants choose a potential partner in an online context differs from that of an offline context, as there are different factors at play in each situation. Some participants emphasised the importance of seeing a potential match's music taste or interests stated on their profile. The third theme identified gender differences in use of the app and communication preferences. The fourth and final theme highlighted elements of the interface which inhibit successful use of the app. Paywalls were seen as a deterrent and source of frustration to participants and this highlighted the use of dark UX patterns in the design of many dating apps. Finally, a potential for design and algorithm coding that is more inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community was discussed.

Thesis Title

Investigating the Impact of Tinder's User Interface on Choice and Interaction with Potential Matches in Online Dating