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Putting Users First – How UCD Drives User Engagement in Dating Apps

Global Dating Insights is delighted to share a guest post from Jake Vygnan, Co-Founder & COO, of Hily & Taimi. Hily and Taimi are global dating apps with 28 million and 15 million users respectively.

User-centered design (UCD), also referred to as “user-oriented approach,” is the concept focused on putting users at the center of product design and development processes. Among the main sources of user-related data, products usually work with requirements, objectives, and feedback. This concept is engraved in our culture and feels like the only “right way” for us to engage users and drive scaling.

UCD is relevant to different niches and markets, and dating apps are not an exception to this rule. At Hily and Taimi, the dating apps that together unite 45 million users, we apply this approach for acquiring different user segments and implementing product changes based on user feedback

In our products, we use design thinking and audience analysis to create engaging experiences for users. With this framework, we get more accurate research results, create more attractive visuals, optimize user acquisition, and never stop analyzing our target audience to timely adjust our product strategy. 

Applying UCD required a significant shift in our mindset at both Hily and Taimi. It made us realize that in order to create value, rather than taking users’ feedback literally and implementing everything they say word by word, we should carefully carve out the real problem they have. It doesn’t always match with what the users would say during the interview. But the job is to read between the lines and figure out the root cause of their feedback. That’s where your product can find its value.

That’s why understanding user interests is the key to enhancing our products. In this regard, working with influencers, creators, and support teams lets us know better what our users care about.

Here’s how collecting and integrating user feedback in our products works in practice. We have a research team that collects data about users’ interests; a support team that gets valuable insights; and a separate department that constantly collaborates with influencers and creators. We also search for users’ passions in App Store and Google Play Market, media, and among the best experts in the dating field.

It’s worth noting that the equilibrium between user satisfaction and business growth is delicate. We don’t ask users for ready-made solutions but rather proactively find “problems” we can solve and insights from various sources we can apply to predict and fulfill users’ needs. And, of course, we consider every feedback thoughtfully and validate it.

Once we get all the relevant data about user interests, we dedicate maximum attention to testing, learning, and measuring impact after changes have been implemented. User data is a key part of our products, and we measure its impact and value before and after each of our solutions is implemented.

At Hily and Taimi, working with user feedback is a never-ending process. It starts from finding and validating insights to generating solutions, defining success, implementing, iterating, and making decisions – and then everything starts over again. In a nutshell, the UCD approach helps us find the easiest way to solve a user problem before the launch and lets us address user needs that naturally leads to business growth.

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