The Quantifiable (Dating) Self
I added a dashboard showing real-time data about the user. Hormones fluctuate depending on what users eat, where they are on their menstrual cycles, and even how often they exercise. Health and dating are inextricably linked. Users can choose to see how their hormones and pheromones are affecting who they're attracted to and who they'll probably attract in return.
I created this page because: 1. Numerous psychological studies show that people tend to distrust information they don't fully understand, even if that information comes from reliable sources. 2. My target audience (rightfully) distrusted dating app algorithms and wanted to see how the algorithm interpreted specific data points. 3. They also wanted to learn more about themselves through numbers.
Dating app users worried that they appeared more attractive on their profiles than in real life. They also wondered if they were missing out on great matches who were less photogenic but attractive in person because of other factors, such as the way they carried themselves or their voice. They also hated others fixating on their looks, but still wanted to see pictures of others. Videos can allow them to show others their in-person personalities and how they actually appear, which will create less anxiety when they meet in person.
I wanted to simplify the onboarding process as much as possible, as long onboarding processes (surveys, "About me," posting profiles pictures, forms) were the reason why people didn't want to use apps like OkCupid. I wanted to give users the option of opting out of this by simply posting a video of themselves.
This project is part of a 12-week class focused on app design. Sonmi is a dating app that syncs with an e-nose-embedded wearable. The e-nose (electronic nose) is a microdevice that can detect and distinguish odors in real-time using sensing receptors and a pattern recognition system. The Sonmi device will collect and analyze users' hormones and match them by their genetic compatibility via an algorithm. Spring 2015.
I began by researching how people become attracted to each other in the first place. My hunch was that it went beyond physical attractiveness and sharing some interests and values, and I was kind of right. Attraction was a complicated machine and dating apps have only scratched the surface.
Dr. Helen Fisher is a biological anthropologist who asserts that there are four broad styles of thinking associated with four basic brain systems: dopamine, seratonin, testosterone, and estrogen. All of us carry a combination of thse chemicals, but we often express some more than others. These systems can be indicative of the kind of person we may fall in love with.
Biologically compatible partners enjoy more satisfying sex lives, greater marital stability, and increased fertility rates. Even their children are healthier, as people who are genetically compatible have semi-opposing and, thus, complementary immune systems. They also find each other more attractive on the whole.
I then interviewed around six people with different levels of online dating experience. I also downloaded a variety of dating apps, deep-diving into what I perceived as polar opposites OkCupid (Survey-based, city-based) and Grindr (which was based on your immediate location.) I wanted to know what outcomes these methods brought about, and whether they were more or less successful in relation to each other and their target audiences.
How the E-Nose works
An electronic nose (e-nose) is a device that identifies the specific components of an odor and analyzes its chemical makeup to identify it. These are its specifics:
(0.2117 cm x 0.2117cm)
Distinguish body odors from perfume/deodorants, etc.
Distinguish pheromones from two different individuals
My interviewees wanted a wearable that others won't be able to notice because they still felt that online dating was taboo. They also complained that meeting people online felt unromantic- they wanted mystery, a chase. By suggesting a nearby match rather than showing the user who it was explicitly, the user would have to venture out to find this person. I didn't have time to develop a wearable in class but I'm in the process of designing one now.
Testing with Prototypes