SUMMATIVE USABILITY TEST: EVALUATING THE TINDER LGBTQ+ EXPERIENCE

Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio Usability Test

THIS PROJECT IN THE DESIGN THINKING PROCESS.

Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio Design Thinking

SUMMARY.​

 

Sponsor: Independent Student Work. No Affiliation with Tinder.

Course: ISE 215 - User Research and Usability Testing

Team: 5 HFE Graduate Students

Timeline: 3-Weeks

Contribution: Expert Heuristic Evaluation \ Research Design \ Data Collection (Moderating, Notetaking and Data Logging, and A/V Control) and Analysis \ Preparation and Presentation of Deliverables

In the Spring 2019 semester, 5 HFE students formed a team to evaluate the usability of Tinder (mobile app v. 10.10.1), a requirement for a course in Usability Testing (ISE 215) at San Jose State University. The study measured performance, behavioral and subjective usability parameters of the Tinder experience, through critical tasks/user flows and with representative users.

 

PROBLEM.

  • Tinder mobile is often marketed as 'inclusive'

  • The application is optimized for non-LGBTQIA users and experiences

 
 

OBJECTIVES.

  1. Evaluate the usability of Tinder mobile version 10.10.1 with LGBTQ+ users

  2. Measure performance, behavioral and subjective usability parameters

  3. Test critical user flows using task-based scenarios

    • Onboarding ​

    • "Matching"

    • Messaging

RESEARCH QUESTIONS.

  1. What is the overall usability of Tinder mobile version 10.10.1 for LGBTQ+ users, across all critical tasks/user flows?

  2. How do LGBTQ+ users perform and respond to their experiences through individual tasks and goals?

  3. How does the usability experience of LGBTQ+ users compare with the usability experience of cisgender, straight users?

 

SAMPLE MATRIX (N = 20).

 

Experience Level

  • Novice: < 6 months or a lapse longer than 6 months

  • Expert: > 6 months of regular use without a lapse

Sexual Orientation

  • LGBTQ+: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, +

  • non-LGBTQ+: Cisgender, Straight

Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio Usability Test

METHODS.​

 

Heuristic Evaluation \ Usability Testing \ Interview \ Survey

TOOLS.

  • iPhone X \ Samsung Galaxy with Tinder and Screen Recording Installed

  • Fictitious Tinder Accounts​ (Representative of Quota Sample)

  • Paper, Clipboard, and Pen/Pencil (For Notetaking)

  • Laptop with Google Sheets (For Data Logging)

LAB SET-UP.

  • Study Room with Glass Windows (SJSU MLK Library) and a Reliable Internet Connection (WiFi)

  • Chair and Table

  • A/V Equipment

 
Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio Usability Test
 

PROCESS.

 

FINDINGS.​

 

Heuristic Evaluation

​A heuristic evaluation was conducted for researchers to familiarize with Tinder version 10.10.1 and identify potential usability hotspots.

Sample Heuristic Violation I: Visibility of System Status

A system should always keep the user informed of what is going on, through appropriate feedback within a reasonable time

Task: 'Edit [Bio] Info'

Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio Usability Test
Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio Usability Test

Description of Violation I: Users can edit their profiles (including photos, age, gender, and sexual preference) by tapping 'Edit Info' on their profile screen and scrolling through the wizard. The 'Photos' uploader element is positioned to fit the entire screen, giving the user no indication to scroll down for access to additional entry fields. Instead, the user is directed to tap the red, 'Done' CTA.

Recommendation for Violation I: Removing a row or two of photo placeholders and moving entry fields up will give users feedforward to scroll down before tapping 'Done.' 

Sample Heuristic Violation II: Consistency

Users should not have to wonder whether different words, situations, or actions mean the same thing. It is best to follow platform conventions.

Task: Review User Photos

Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio Usability Test
Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio Usability Test
Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio Usability Test
Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio Usability Test

Description of Violation II: To review a user's photos from the 'Matching' screen, the user has to tap the edges of the Profiles deck. To review photos from the 'Profile' screen, the users has to swipe through the photo deck. This inherently changes one of Tinder's most popular interactions, which can confuse and frustrate users. 

Recommendation for Violation II: Tinder is well known for its 'swipe-to-match' system. The interaction mechanic used to review Photos from a Profile should match the mechanics of the 'Matching' screen (the main screen).

Usability Test

Usability testing was conducted to evaluate the usability of Tinder mobile (v. 10.10.1). 

 

Usability Parameters: Performance, Behavioral & Subjective Responses

 

User Group: LGBTQ+ 

User Goal: Find a local 'Match'

Tasks: Create a new Tinder account and set your sexual preference

The following experience flow visualizes the Onboarding process for Tinder version 10.10.1 (screen stills above chart).

Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio Usability Test
Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio Usability Test
Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio Usability Test
Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio Usability Test
Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio Usability Test

Performance:

  • Although 20/20 participants were able to complete their Tinder account through the onboarding process, not all participants were able to set their sexual preference

  • 10/10 LGBTQ+ participants were not able to set their sexual preference in the onboarding process, extending the time it takes to complete the  actual 'onboarding' task by an average of 132 seconds for LGBTQ+ participants

Behavioral Responses:

Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio Usability Test

A participant who identifies as a straight, cis-gen male was able to begin 'Matching' with their sexual preference immediately after completing the onboarding process.

Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio Usability Test

A participant who identifies as a gay male expressed confusion when they noticed only potential suitors who identify as female were being shown to them in the 'Matching' screen. 

It took the participant an additional 98 seconds to find and set their sexual preference in the 'Settings' screen, after completing the onboarding process.

Subjective Responses:

  • 10/10 LGBTQ+ participants rated the onboarding experience a 1/5, where 1 is Very Poor and 5 is Very Excellent

  • 7/10 LGBTQ+ participants rated their overall experience a 2 or below on a Likert Scale of 1 to 5

During a post-interview, one LGBTQ+ participant (F, 23) reported the following about their experience with Tinder, specifically referring the onboarding process:

"I think it's a slap in the face to our [the LGBTQ+] community"

 

INSIGHTS.​

 

​By triangulating and converging on the analyzed data, the following insights were concluded by our team:

  1. Tinder version 10.10.1 is optimized for straight, cis-gender users

  2. The prioritization of straight, cis-gender experiences early in the onboarding process blocks LGBTQ+ experiences, turning these users off  

DELIVERABLES.​

 

A report detailing and prioritizing usability issues and recommendations was presented to the ISE 215 class at San Jose State University.

Critical Onboarding Recommendation: 

Integrate a Sexual Preference option directly into the onboarding process.

 

NEXT STEPS.​

 

This study provided insights into the overall usability of Tinder mobile version 10.10.1 with representative LGBTQ+ and non-LGBTQ+ users, through main user flows and tasks. The priority given to the design of LGBTQ+ experiences must increase and be reflected in the UI.

 
Victor Alejandro Cortes User Experience UX Research Portfolio Design Thinking
 

TESTIMONIALS.

Lih Seng Goh

User Experience Researcher | Google Stadia

"Victor was extremely easy to work with and always very open when communicating with the team. He does a good job aligning with stakeholders using his active listening skills to understand core usability issues and research questions. I was always impressed by the solutions he proposed, and any feedback given to him was incorporated thoughtfully."

Theresa Faught

Design Researcher | IBM

"During this project, Victor did an excellent job of leveraging both the needs of the user with the needs of product stakeholders in mind. He brought well thought out recommendations and insights to our data synthesis sessions. Victor craftfully executed this difficult research project by being highly organized and collaborative on the team. It was a pleasure to work with Victor."

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Copyright © 2021 by Victor Alejandro Cortes.

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San José, California

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