How might we make the experience of finding a romantic partner easier and more enjoyable for young adults?
Everyone wants to find love, but how and where to find it has been one of the oldest questions known to man. Traditionally, people found their significant others through matchmakers, mutual friends, family, work, or third spaces (social spaces that are separate from the home (first space) and the workspace(second place) such as churches, bars, gyms, etc.).
With the introduction of online dating in 1995 by Match.com and subsequently dating apps like Tinder in 2012, these services hailed technology as the solution to having more luck in finding love. Garnering widespread adoption, online dating has become the most common way couples meet (39%)1 compared to 28 years ago where mutual friends (33%)1 facilitated introductions.
More than 20 years after its introduction, 3 out of 10 Americans have used dating sites or apps; however only 12% reported marriage or a long-term relationship with someone they met online2. Despite the accessibility to a variety of people and dating apps, young adults are still struggling to find love. In our user interviews, Élisabeth stated “I feel frustrated continuously swiping and going on dates, but not feeling a connection with someone… no one is serious , all they want are hookups and situations”
User Pain Points
From our user research and relationship/dating studies, we identified 2 main user pain points when finding a romantic partner.
- Dating fatigue : also known as dating burnout, refers to the feeling of exhaustion, frustration, and disillusionment when searching for new romantic connections.
- Difficulty finding meaningful connections
Young people lack faith in finding love online: 48% reported their experience with dating apps as negative. Furthermore 62% believe relationships started online are less successful than relationships started in person.
Young people believe dating apps reinforce superficial ways of connection: Respondent reported the top 3 reasons why dating apps negatively affected dating and relationships were
- Dating apps facilitated cheating (35%)
- Ghosting/ lack of reciprocal interest (19%)
- Lack of personal/ emotional interest (19%)
Despite the popularity of dating apps, the majority of young people are still meeting romantic interests in person through various means :
The most common way people meet potential dates is….
- Mutual friends (58%)
- Dating apps ( 54%)
- Coincidental interaction (46%)
Young people are open to dates facilitated by their social circle : Although 62% have never been set up on a date by a friend, 79% reported they were likely to go on a date set up by a friend.
5 potential users were interviewed in-depth, all of whom had expressed negative experiences using dating apps/ online dating stated ….
- “I get many matches, but only a few initiate conversation or respond to my initial message”
- “Sometimes my friend and I trade phones and swipe on each others behalf”
- “I feel frustrated continuously swiping and going on dates, but not feeling a connection with someone… no one is serious , all they want are hookups and situations”
Landing on the Solution
Based on our target users’ pain points, we knew we wanted to incorporate features that would reduce dating fatigue. ” Wing will be an easy way for single young adults to find romantic connection with the help of their social circle.
Explanation of Solution
- Creation of “Wings” : Once registered on the app, users can share their unique QR code with their friends allowing them to join the app as one of their “wings”. As a wing, they can only swipe and recommend potential matches (outside or within their social circle).
By enlisting the help of their social circle, the burden of finding a romantic partner no longer solely falls on the single user; therefore increasing satisfaction and creating a more positive experience online dating.
Possible additional problems to address would be ghosting and compatibility. Post- MVP features could include..
- Limiting the number of matches a user can speak to at a given time
- Showing weekly standouts that are upvoted by your “wings”
- Creating time limits for initiating conversation / meeting in-person
- Including a text box / pre-written statements to select from for reasoning behind a wing’s recommendation
- Allowing a single user to request an introduction from a mutual “wing”
Another interesting feature could be to create a longitudinal study about dating and relationships. Similar to the Harvard Study of Adult development, upon registration users will be asked if they would like to participate in the study. The purpose of the study would be to understand how effective our application is at helping user’s find meaningful connections. Additionally, we can see how dating / relationships are changing for Millennials/ GenZ who have not known dating prior to online dating.
Product Manager Learnings:
- Your solution is only as good as your exploration of the problem space : It is easy to get fixated on a solution in the beginning, but this experience taught me to take a step back and focus on understanding the problem. By doing user research, I was able to get a bigger scope of challenges faced by young adults when dating. I found most users were very honest about their dating life and more than willing to help me.This made it an enjoyable experience for me!
- Always be open to learning not only from mentors and leaders in the industry, but your colleagues : Everyone's an expert in something and getting the opportunity to work with 120 other fellows helped me develop my skills as a PM.