Where tech and romance meet – it’s a great match
Find out how technology is evolving to make finding love easier through the ongoing development of more sophisticated dating apps.
One sector of the economy that has seen exponential growth is the online dating app industry. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, younger generations are pretty demanding – they want efficiency and results, and they want them now. Second, of course, was the pandemic which isolated people who turned to dating apps for connections.
This surge in popularity and use has forced those apps that have been around for a while (the first one was launched in 1995), to remodel themselves to meet the new demands and the much larger numbers. Speed and efficiency became those goals and those, of course, meant introducing a far higher level of technology into their systems.
The level of today’s technology
Dating has certainly evolved. With the advent of all sorts of social forces, today’s singles enjoy far more freedom in their romantic and sexual lives. They are also far more accepting of all sorts of dating arrangements and a variety of gender identities.
In short, these singles want to “live and let live.” In all of this, their dating habits are changing too. They look to online dating apps to provide the efficiency and convenience they want as they seek partners – for everything from casual hookups and dating to permanent partnerships. Here’s where the tech comes into play.
These drive much of what app developers do as they strive for as much accuracy as possible when matching users. The old ways of having a database and matching users via common keywords in their bios just don’t provide the accuracy being sought by app owners and users.
The answer of course was to develop the algorithms that provided a more scientific approach. These have been patterned after those used by some of the “big boys” in the consumer retail industry and also focus on AI and machine learning so that user preferences and dating history are tracked and drive matching in the future.
Think of it this way. When people make purchases on Amazon, those purchases are tracked and saved. So, when a purchaser comes back, they are always presented with additional products based on their previous behaviors. Similar algorithms have been developed for dating apps and result in greater accuracy.
Matching algorithms are central to user satisfaction with a dating app. But, in order to remain competitive in an ever-growing marketplace, apps must do much more for their users.
New and ever-increasing features
Once users find a match or two, they want ways to communicate with those matches within the app. Early on, the method was private messaging. But as one app began to add newer features, others followed suit. Now users can chat, video chat, share photos and videos, and even live stream.
All of these features require more design and development behind the scenes, that users are not ever aware of. They just know that they want these features in order to get to know their matches better and make live dating decisions. For a prime example of this phenomenon, check this, an online dating app for the LGBTQ+ community that has the most in-demand features and is continually adding new ones.
Every time a new feature is requested by app owners, developers have a new challenge.
Users want a number of things when they become members of a dating app. They want ease of navigation and access to all of the features; they want the design of the app to have visual appeal; and they want speed. All of these are development challenges for the IT department.
Another part of the user interface is interaction with the app administration and customer service. App owners want to be able to send messages to their users to announce new features, advertise products and events, and be certain that those notifications and reminders are sent and received. The goal is to keep users active and engaged within the app – more challenges for developers.
Most apps have a free version with minimal and very basic features. And all of them have fee-based versions which they pay for within the app. Additional purchases can be made within the app too – products that are advertised, digital gifts for their dates, and such.
Payment processing has to be easy and secure just as it is with all reputable retailers. And of course, developers are responsible for ensuring all of this.
User safety and security
Users bear a lot of responsibility for their own safety as they exercise all of their options on a dating app. Most apps have “rules” and security tips that their users should review and practice – not sharing personal information with other users, for example.
Still, the system itself must be secure so that it cannot be breached and user personal and financial information compromised. As hackers become more sophisticated, it will be incumbent upon developers to keep up with the latest in security technology and to incorporate it into the system.
There is one more factor in safety and security. It is well-known that some “bad actors” will get registered on dating apps. They set up false profiles and will troll other users, never with good intentions. There must be protocols in place to verify the identities of new registrants, and this challenge, again, lies with developers.
Dating app technology is not as simple as users might think. Everything they have access to on the surface has an underbody of design and development that is pretty sophisticated. As technology “marches” forward, there will be new design and development demands so that apps can remain competitive and profitable.
What the future may involve
There are a number of innovations and disruptions on the horizon that dating apps are certainly thinking about if not already making plans to incorporate. Here are just a few things that developers can look forward to.
AI and machine learning
These are already in use at varying levels within the current matching algorithms of most dating apps. But as these two become more sophisticated, there will be more opportunities to use these technologies for improved user experience.
AR and VR
Think of the various ways in which these two technologies are already in use in the consumer marketplace. People can try on clothing in virtual fitting rooms; they can scan a code on a wine bottle and instantly be taken to the vineyard where the grapes are grown and then processed into that wine; travelers go virtually to resorts, plop themselves down, and experience all of the amenities.
AR and VR have brought a “try before you buy” culture to consumerism. It’s only a matter of time before matches on dating apps can have virtual dates.
Low code/no code development
There are now coding platforms that allow software development on the part of those with little-to-know coding skills. While complex development will still require full-code developers, app owners will see low- and no-code development for some features as a cost savings.
An end to passwords
This is a disruption that is moving fast. Biometric identification will become the preferred method by which users will access their accounts and the other features of dating apps.
More opportunities for entertainment within the app
Again, it’s all about remaining competitive. And that means keeping users coming back and being actively engaged. Dating apps will offer more and more opportunities for entertainment – gamification, concert streaming, and other virtual events, such as parties. All of these things require more development infrastructure.
The future for developers of dating apps
Dating apps are not going away. And they are evolving at a rapid rate to incorporate a lot more than just the matching of potential romantic partners. All of these incorporations will continue to require skilled developers.