Called JigTalk, the app wants to help singles connect over its “Talk more = See more” policy, which lets singles reveal other users’ profile pictures the more they talk.
The gamified concept was devised by the app’s co-founder Max Adamski who, after having bad experiences with online dating, questioned why dating platforms are so often focused around appearance.
Co-founder Alex Durrant explained in an interview with GDI: “Max was having a somewhat unsuccessful time on a dating app and thought, you know what, why can’t I express my personality first before showing my photo?
“And that was essentially the basis of where JigTalk came from – it was simply trying to find a formula that brought personality into the equation as much as pictures.”
The beta version of the app, which is currently available on iOS, originally launched in Leeds earlier this year, with plans to target the student population.
And after a successful beta test, a revamped version of the product is set to be launched for iOS and Android on 12th January next year.
How does JigTalk work?
JigTalk initially works like many other dating apps, requiring singles to sign up via Facebook, before they can start creating their profile.
On their profile, singles display their age, location, a tag line (which JigTalk takes from their Facebook information, such as occupation) and an optional bio to give other singles a better idea of what they are like.
Once the admin side is all set up, singles can then start looking for their perfect match.
JigTalk gives each user two potential matches at a time, forcing them to pick one of the two using the “thumbs up” button, and if both users click the thumbs up, they match.
There’s a catch, however, as each user’s profile picture is covered by a 16 piece puzzle – although each member can choose one piece they want to reveal to other singles, to give a small view of what they look like.
After two singles match, JigTalk re-covers the users’ profiles with 16 jigsaw pieces, before helping to kick-start the romance by offering up four icebreaker questions.
If both users respond to a question, one jigsaw piece is taken away – the more mutual responses, the more pieces are revealed.
If the conversation continues past the icebreakers, the photos continue to be unveiled, and after 16 mutual messages have been exchanged, the full, unobscured profile photos are visible.
The original beta vs. the new app
For many apps, the process of fine-tuning and getting a product ready for consumers by listening to early user feedback is a vital part of the product’s journey.
This was the same for JigTalk, but although the app has seen some important changes since its beta launch in February, it is clear the main concept has stayed largely the same.
Launching in Leeds on Valentine’s Day this year, JigTalk asked around 1,000 students in the area to give some feedback on what they thought the app was doing well, and how it could be improved.
Although many students enjoyed the gamified concept of talking first and revealing their appearance later, some raised concerns over the original rules for unlocking puzzle pieces.
With the original beta version, singles had to send 50 characters each before a piece was unlocked – a factor that many saw as too much work for too little reward.
So, Durrant and Adamski went back to the drawing board, thinking up a way of offering singles more instant results – hence its current mutual message jigsaw piece reveal.
In terms of other changes, Durrant said that instead of letting users input their own icebreakers, Jigtalk now offers up the icebreakers – giving singles a way to reveal more of the other person’s picture, while also seeking to reduce the “awkward hellos” singles encounter online.
Although the app’s beta version is still currently available on the App Store, JigTalk’s official launch on iOS and Android will be in January next year.
After the launch, JigTalk is hoping to boost its user base and grow the app by creating micro-markets in the north of England and beyond.
Speaking about its plans for growth, Durrant said: “We definitely do things in an unconventional way – whether it’s the concept of the application itself or our marketing efforts, we think we can have a big impact.”
And having previously secured an impressive £130,000 round of funding from investors in London and New York, Durrant told GDI that JigTalk plans to announce another round of funding next year.
To find out more about JigTalk and to download the beta version of the app, please click here.