Project Overview: Swiping the Way to Bae


Due to the significance of this project, I’d like to again put it in the spotlight.

Over a month and a half or so, I used Tinder and did a great deal of academic research on the app. Some of my more interesting findings are the following:


Interestingly, Tinder’s implied usage and popularity begin from the app’s design. The icon’s symbolism of a flame implies “hot” and “quick” intimacy, thus this app is still widely considered one for dating (or, more informally, hookups). The app’s developers, however, seem to focus on committed relationships, as demonstrated on the app’s website.

Effective Design

Simply put, Tinder is pleasing to use. Users derive a certain sense of satisfaction from the functionality, which makes them more likely to come back. Even more, visual appeal also attracts people (coincidently, just as the appearance of potential partners). This design is also well optimized for on-the-go usage: it can easily be used with one hand, with users’ thumbs being the guides. Thus, using the app in quick bursts of free time is much easier.


The concept of simplicity takes on a variety of factors, mostly in terms of information and security. This is done through importing users’ information directly from their Facebook profiles, which is regarded as the most authentic social network and also makes it harder to assume a fake identity on Tinder. In terms of information, the app utilizes a flawless component of skeuomorphism: cards with a photo and minimal information about a person. This makes it much simpler and less overwhelming to sort through potential partners.

Ideal for Contemporary Courtship

Due to many factors, such as a much later social maturity, countless depictions in popular media, and more open attitudes about sex, more and more young people are participating in hookup culture. These encounters of casual sex allow youths to satisfy their sexual needs while still managing to achieve their goals outside of committed relationships, which have become a hassle for many young people in postindustrial societies pursuing education well into their twenties.

Looks DO Matter

Nonetheless, Tinder reflects an inevitability in relationships: appearance is a major component of our impressions of people. Reflecting this, Tinder’s developers give very little written information about matches, but rather incorporate photos as the main component. Whether we like it or not, a person’s photos can tell a lot about him/her, which extends to the person as well as the background, and even what they are doing.

The Isolation Problem 

At any rate, Tinder is still a part of a growing problem in advanced societies: we are becoming very distant from each other. It is much more comforting for people to be able to control the impressions others get of them, which digital communication caters to, but we are gaining a great sense of isolation. With the many short-term conversations that occur on Tinder, this is especially true. In American culture, people have long formed many acquaintanceships, but few close friendships. With social media, digital communication, and apps like Tinder, this issue has only worsened.