6 ways to optimize dating app UX through testing The novel coronavirus has impacted everything in our lives… including dating. Connecting with others is an essential part of the human experience, which has only been exacerbated by the current pandemic. When a user relies on an application to create this connection, it becomes inherently more intimate than other types of mobile apps. With the proliferation of different styles of dating apps in recent years, there have been a number of user experience themes, swiping right being the most notorious. However, just as there is plenty of fish in the sea, there, too, is an extraordinary dating app competition. If you want users to swipe right on your app, UX has to be superb. Only through effective and experienced testing is that possible. Dating from a social distance In the past few weeks, mobile dating apps have seen a surge in activity. Tinder has seen the average length of conversations increasing by 25 percent and an increase in overall users up 20 percent worldwide. In early April, Hinge launched its new “date from home” feature with 70 percent of users having tried it at least once. Testlio client, Hornet, with more than 25 million users, is a valuable resource for gay men around the globe to stay distanced socially in the time of COVID-19. For example, Hornet hosted the #GreatGayStayIn festival, a full day of livestream programming right from their app — home workout sessions, a live cooking demonstration, some frank discussion of love and relationships with a leading sexpert, an HBO premiere, and some much-needed comedy. According to a Bumble spokesperson, “We’re experiencing a major lifestyle change at the moment and we’re focused on helping our users shift the dating app experience to an in-app dating experience.” Learn how Testlio swarms the dating-app surface with on-demand testing support. Talk to a professional Complex relationships, but simple apps Mobile environments are extremely complex. From incoming phone calls to apps running in the background, various circumstances can potentially disrupt an app’s performance. You must ensure your application doesn’t affect basic mobile functionality. If it does, you could end up with poor ratings from users. That doesn’t just mess with your rankings but also your discoverability. By testing a mobile app in different connectivity scenarios, QA testers verify functions work as designed and in tandem without interruption. Despite protests from some departments who insist your app won’t be as valuable without all of the bells and whistles of some functionalities, as noted in an article from Smashing Magazine, the best strategy for better user experience is to release an app with basic functionality and minimalist features. Additionally, adhering to a minimum viable product (MVP) mobile app approach lets you focus on the more important features and benefits of your app as well as a faster time to market. So ask yourself if you’re able to build it in such a way that you can cut down certain functions in order to optimize your most needed features. In dating apps, however, there are key features that cannot be left in the dust… Messaging and maps to name a few. So test these extensively. Algorithm testing for matches made in heaven There’s nothing more frustrating than the empty-room feeling you get when an algorithm is off. Stories abound about bugs in moderation or algorithms going horribly wrong. But when your entire business is based on developing sincere connections between potential partners, you can’t get that wrong. Faith that an algorithm might be able to find your soulmate is thoroughly appealing. And tons of dating apps claim to be able to use data for smart match-making algorithms. That’s why it’s imperative to ensure the data used is verified and validated. From a technical aspect, dating apps use attributes like hobbies, genres of books, movies, music, etc. to match people. If someone likes long walks on the beach (and long-winded ways of describing this), they need to match with someone who likes “being outdoors” or “hanging by the water”. This can be achieved with the help of match algorithm tests: User criteria review test. Perform a matching criteria test. Understand how the system’s scripts should be executed if users change criteria. Verify the kind of user data that will be provided to the opposite side after matching. Localization testing Most dating apps are localized and based on specific geography. This means the app must be able to be translated into multiple languages, adhere to local regulations and cultural norms. To ensure the app performs brilliantly in a wide variety of settings, localization testing is extremely important for dating apps. As you create these localized segments, test that they haven’t caused new errors. While it’s not very complicated to make an app for a specific location, when playing cupid in multiple regions with multi-cultural specifics consider gathering an international group of testers. Functional and Usability testing Private direct messages are a cornerstone of any dating app. However, it’s vital to test for both functional and usability issues. Functional testing checks for errors related to launching a chat, sending and receiving messages, and sharing photos and videos. This type of testing is often a good candidate for automated testing. For more on which tests to automate, see our Q&A with John Ruberto. Usability testing is designed to uncover problem areas where the entire app-driven customer experience is not great. Usability testing helps you learn if real users can intuitively access features. “Our users are having a great experience on our app — and they’re spreading the word about Hornet. Ultimately, this helps us grow not only our network but also our bottom line.” Hornet CTO, Armand du Plessis. Read how dating-app Hornet utilizes on-demand testers only when necessary and with very short notice. Learn more Test safety and privacy features Privacy and safety features are enormously important in dating apps. Users are already nervous when interacting with strangers, and even more so when meeting them in person. It’s important that you build in specific safety features. The ability to block or report a user is imperative. Moderation of bad actors needs to be dealt with swiftly. These features need to be extensively tested, due to the severity of consequences if things do go wrong. And while we don’t like to think about it, you need to allow a way to help users out of an unsafe situation should one arise. This should include emergency calls and reporting. You’ll also need to test for the localization of these features because they need to support different geographies and various emergency services. Flexibility is key Over a quarter billion people around the world have used or are currently using online dating services. While the most popular way to find your virtual soulmate is still on a mobile app, thanks to recent entrants like Twitter or Facebook, dating via web apps may see a resurgence. In the fall of 2019, Facebook joined the dating world. And because Facebook Dating lives within the existing Facebook platform, it allows users to create their profile from a laptop or desktop. A few years ago, Tinder launched an online interface, which allows for PC use. The wide variety of platforms where people access dating apps requires broad testing coverage, across mobile and PC devices. For a list of the most common devices tested on in 2019, see our infographic here. Testlio’s remote, on-demand, web, and mobile app testing help software development teams build better end-to-end app experiences. Schedule a personalized demo today.