While a swiping function might not make sense for the type of app you intend to create, it’s about understanding and applying the underlying concept for your own needs. In other words, how can you keep users actively engaged with your app without forcing them to wait for new pages, tabs or product images to load? Is there a way to keep them on the same screen but still enable them to move through different parts of the app?
As one of the founders of Tinder, Sean Rad, explained, “With swipes on Tinder, the act of navigating through content is merged with inputting an action on that content.”
But if that were true, users wouldn’t continue subscribing to the app and use it as frequently as they do, right?
In order for gamification to work, there needs to be a system of risk and reward. The risk in this case could come in the form of the following and more:
Each dating app seems to have its own unique and preferred system of gamification, closely tied to its brand identity.
Clover, for example, tries to bridge the gap between dating websites with a comprehensive intake questionnaire and an app built for speed. This is why a game of 20 Questions makes sense for this app.
Clover’s version of 20 Questions (Image: Clover) (View large version) A sample of how Clover’s 20 Questions game works (Image: Clover) (View large version) When users complete 20 Questions, they receive these words of support. (Image: Clover) (View large version)
Then, we have Once, an app that sends you only one well-tuned match every day. However, with limited information to work from in the user’s profile, it needs additional input. Rather than force users to answer more questions, it gives them a chance to rate random users’ pictures. This increases the AI’s ability to find appropriate matches, and it also gives users a fun diversion while they wait for their next match.
Bumble, on the other hand, uses gamification to play into the sense of urgency we all have when using a mobile device (and when trying to hurry up and find the love of our life!). Although the app grants ladies the power of communication, it also has its limits: 24 hours, to be exact. So, whenever a user logs into their messages and matches queue, they’ll see a yellow timer letting them know when they need to take action.
Ultimately, gamification is not about creating mindless or pointless games or animations that add nothing to the experience. Rather, it’s about motivating users to open the app every day and truly engage with it.
However, most of these communication methods would be cumbersome and unwelcome in a mobile app (in case you hadn’t already noticed). The only form of communication mobile dating apps make use of is the push notification, and for good reason. According to Localytics, 46% of mobile users will return to an app more than 11 times (remember that statistic from earlier?) if they receive in-app messages. This is partially due to the fact that push notifications can deliver timely news and reminders to users, which is part of the whole urgency appeal of using an app in the first place. There’s also the fact that these messages tend to be personalized, which makes them extra valuable.