Research Approach

This is the very nerdy UX research bit of the site. But if you are a digital anthropologist, a UX or user researcher, a UX designer, an ethnographer, a sociologist, a digital tech enthusiast or skeptic, this might be interesting to you.

Story-Telling First

The first stage in the research will be to collect online dating stories, especially how people feel about their experiences, how they describe their behaviour. We'll do this using an online survey that invites people to tell stories about the different stages in the user journey:

  1. Choosing a site/app
  2. Deciding whether to get outside help (free or paid)
  3. Finding and choosing photos of yourself
  4. Creating your profile
  5. Answering the profile/survey questions
  6. Looking at potential matches
  7. Sending messages
  8. Setting the first date
  9. The first date

Vignettes & Emotional Dimensions

The second stage of the research will take the gist of the stories we gather and based on the experience and emotion for the archetypical experiences at each stage, we'll develop one or more alternative ideas for how the experience could be. We'll present these ideas to people who use online dating in the form of vignettes (a brief evocative description, account, or episode) and we'll ask for their response to each vignette according to a consistent set of emotional dimensions. 

Building a Model

The outcome of the two phases will be a model for how we would expect users to behave related to each of the vignettes. That means we'll understand how we can change online dating so that the (user) experience is more satisfying.

Where did this methodology come from?

Told you it would be nerdy. This method of stories, then vignettes, then model is something my team and I developed at Analytic Design Group (A UX consulting firm I founded in 2005). We created an online privacy model for a software company, so I know the method works.

More info?

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