Creating transparent tools to help people find their perfect match

5th Nov 2019
Online dating has become so popular, and the algorithms generating matches are more complex than ever. Today people want more insight into how these opaque algorithms are suggesting their dating matches. They want easy tools to manage their data and simple explanations of how its influencing tailored matches. Transparency will make them feel more comfortable and ready to engage with the app.
Product Context

BAE is an adult dating app that matches people based on shared interests and mutual friends. It suggests a minimum of 15 matches each day. People can message each other after both have liked a match. Thanks to its inference engine, BAE is great at suggesting potential dates.

In order to provide the service, Bae is powered by some of the following data:

  • Location, profile description, photos, friends, messages, mutual connections, groups, events
  • Natural language processing and analysis of friend connections
  • In-app survey responses
  • Activity on and off the app

Problem & Opportunity

As people become more aware of the risks involved with data sharing, they seek more control over their information and more tools to understand how it’s being used, explicitly and implicitly. User-friendly features to help people manage their privacy settings and clarity on how their data is influencing their suggested matches will return control to people and alleviate the concern of experiencing algorithmic bias.

How might we... tools to help people manage their data and suggest better matches?

Design Features

The Bae-o-meter is a simple slider at the top of the interface that allows people to customize their data control level. Slide left to reduce information sharing. This will require the app to rely more heavily on its algorithm, including inferences. Slide right to increase the amount of personal information being used to suggest better matches with less algorithmic interference. At each step, tooltips explain the benefits of sharing more to improve matches.

The Bae-o-meter is a flexible tool that users can return to, at any time. It also allows them to preview settings changes before committing to them. That way, they can see how it will affect their suggested matches. Based on what they see in the suggested matches, people can play with the level until they’ve found the best setting to fit their needs and comfort with the data.

Bae Level 03@2x
Next steps

The Bae-o-meter is intended to spark conversation, meaning it’s a tool people can return to and adjust based on how they want to engage with the app. In the future, the goal is total transparency, to be able to show people precisely which nugget of personal information or data point generated each match. People will also have the option to delete their data and profile at any time.

How might we build on Bae’s ideas to create a tool that offers more transparency and generates better dating matches?