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Tinder, Inc. - Academic Project


This was a final project for the graduate course in usability testing and user research taught by Anthony Andre, Ph.D. in the systems engineering department at San José State University. Our team of four people were assigned to formulate a complete usability testing protocol for Tinder mobile app and generate a report based on data from our findings.

Scope: 2 months

The Research

  • This assignment resulted in a 115 page usability assessment that articulates usability goals and dimensions of interest, test design, main use cases, step-by-step procedures for carrying out the study and recommendations derived from test findings. The usability test focused on 9 goal-based tasks that (1) assessed the efficiency of use of Tinder as it pertains to first-time users and experienced users, and (2) identified usability issues pertaining to users whose sexual orientation is LGBTQIA.

  • Participants were then asked by the test moderator  to carry out goal-based tasks. Some tasks are repeated as we wanted to note any variation that may exist between first time users and non-users.


             Non-experienced users

  • Create an account using a phone number

  • Edit profile and add pictures

  • Set sexual preference on Tinder

  • Swipe left and right

  • Browse profile picture and content

  • Unmatch a match

  • Message a match

  • Delete Tinder profile


The Result

Some key findings from the usability test:

Implement feedback everywhere!

In many instances throughout the testing process, users were unsure about whether the system had processed their interaction. From a “swipe right” to a change in gender preference, the system does not provide sufficient feedback. Feedback is the system acknowledging to a user that a change or an action has been made. It informs the user of the system’s status as it relates to the user. 

Create an animated onboarding for users creating a new profile

Learning a new user interface can be challenging and frustrating at times. Users download Tinder with the intention of having an enjoyable experience. We do not want to drive users away because they had a terrible time onboarding to the app. An animated, interactive tutorial should automatically activate once a user creates a log-in for the first time. Additionally, an option to skip the tutorial should be made available. This animated tutorial will help users understand how they can make then app work for their needs and preferences. It will identify where features such as setting gender preferences are and provide instruction on how to view a user’s profile.

Be more transparent

A user should understand what their action will do prior to the execution of that action. Many users tapped on the blue “super like” star with no knowledge as to its significance and value. They were unpleasantly surprised to find out that they would not be granted another chance to “super like” another user until 24 hours pass unless they bought a special Tinder subscription. Transparently communicate the meaning of all interactions to the user so that they will not feel cheated by the system.

For an articulation of findings and recommendations based on results from each task, see section 4 on page 20 of the full report:

My Contributions

My responsibilities included contributing to the heuristic evaluation and the design of the usability test. I was the note taker during usability test sessions. I authored the usability test report along with three other classmates. 

What I Learned

This project provided me the opportunity to work with a team of 4 researchers to identify local and system-wide problems in Tinder's user interface. Through evaluating the user interface for global usability principle violations and hearing user perceptions through surveys, I was able to formulate a valuable test plan that  provided actionable insights for future iterations of the product.  Facilitating our test with carefully constructed tasks helped us understand and validate flaws in the user experience of Tinder through behavioral, performance, and subjective measures. 

                     Experienced users

  • Edit profile and add picture 

  • Set sexual preferences on Tinder

  • Swipe left and right

  • Browse profile picture and content

  • Unmatch a match

  • Message a match

  • Report user profile

  • Delete Tinder profile

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