Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Tech Behind Dating Apps – So Simple for the User; Not So Much for the Developer

When someone accesses an online dating app like Hily, registers, and becomes a user, they have expectations – that they will be offered matches of others based on their bios and their stated preferences; that they will have the convenience and efficiency of communicating with those matches privately; that their personal information will be protected; that the matches they choose will be genuine people; that if they should purchase a premium version of the app, that purchase will be safe and secure.

That’s a lot to ask, but users not only expect all of these things but speed in how all of this is accomplished and delivered. That’s a tall order for the techies behind it all. Just think about the development tasks they have and how they must evolve as app owners continue to want new features to gain a competitive edge.

Matching Algorithms

In 1995, when launched its dating website, there was a pretty straightforward matching process. There was a database of users, and those users provided their bios and preferences. This was all entered into the database, and keywords were used to present matches.

Now this was not all that fast or efficient, but it was pretty much the only game in town. Over time, technology marched forward, first in lots of other sectors. Algorithms were developed to match borrowers with loans, to match investors with stocks, and even to match consumers with products.

Thus, today, when you purchase a product on Amazon, you are immediately “matched” with the “you might also like” or “customers like you also purchased.” These algorithms track the buying behaviors of consumers, and the algorithm churns out all kinds of info about what they have bought and passed up in the past and what others who share their demographics have too. 

And if you even look at something advertised on your social media accounts, you know what happens.

Eventually, algorithms came to the dating app sector – it was bound to happen. And much of the same information is extracted from all of the data collection. This turns matching into a science, the “art” being left up to the two who are matched and select one another. The next question becomes how can developers help the “art” along. 

Designing and Developing Those Features

Dating apps are adding new features all the time. In the beginning, matched users could message one another. Now, they can chat, video chat, and live stream. This is all easy from the user’s side – not so much from the developer’s side where these features must be programmed to function seamlessly. If they don’t, a frustrated user may opt out and find another app where features operate smoothly. Today’s dating app users don’t have a lot of patience – they want immediate gratification and results.

User Interface

There are so many aspects of the user interface. Everything about the app must be user-friendly, must appeal visually, and must be totally intuitive, and leave no doubt regarding how to get where they want to go and do what they want to do.

Another aspect of the user interface is to notify users of events, to send notices and reminders, and to ensure that they are sent and received. This is the way apps can keep users engaged and active.

Payment Processing

Dating app users are consumers. While most dating apps have free versions, all have premium fee-based plans. And so, a payment protocol must be designed and developed, just as those for all other retail businesses. This must be streamlined and user-friendly, and most importantly fully secure.

But security does not just apply to payment protocols. There are other special issues with dating apps.

Personal Safety and Security

If the IRS, the State Department, and large retailers like Target can suffer major security breaches, dating apps are pretty low-hanging fruit. And they hold the personal information of their users. For their own security measures, that information must be protected, and it is up to developers to have the protocols in place to do just that. But as hackers become more sophisticated, so must the protection. This is an ongoing challenge for developers.

The other aspect of security is identity verification. Dating apps are especially vulnerable to trolls and fake profiles. Protocols must be set up for verification and, again, this is a continuing challenge to develop new methods as the technology continues to evolve.

To Recap…

Dating app technology is continually evolving as it adapts to new trends in the business model, to the demands and changes in user behavior, to the need of these app owners to gain a competitive edge via new features and benefits, to the use of AI and machine learning to gather and churn the data to make matching a scientific process, to responding to the continuous innovations in the industry. Designers and developers have their work cut out for them.


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