In order to create a truly high-value experience for your mobile app, pay close attention to what dating apps have done. However, some other apps out there are making sples from those where applicable.
1. Design for Mobile-First
The last time I was single, I had two options: meet someone in person or meet someone through a dating website. At the time, I remember despising dating websites. They required what I perceived to be too much work, and none of them really looked very good. People's pictures looked grainy, there were no restrictions on how much or how little someone could write, and I don't remember the websites being very easy to get around.
In my super-single-Suzy phase, I was really happy to have the mobile dating app at my disposal - and it seems I'm not alone. When Clickz looked at the number of desktop users versus mobile users in 2013, it found that 65% of online daters used desktop and only 35% were on mobile. However, just a year later, those numbers changed significantly, with 60% going the mobile-only route and 40% still relying on desktop.
This isn't much of a surprise, considering how popular mobile apps have become in terms of the amount of time we spend, in general, on smart devices. As I mentioned, however, not all mobile apps are as well received as mobile dating apps. Much of that has to do with design.
Sure, some dating websites (such as Match and OkCupid) have crossed over into the mobile app space in order to give users flexible options in how they use the service. That being said, apps that are truly making strides in this space are those that are strictly mobile-only and designed with a mobile-first mentality.
Users aren't required to fill in dozens or even hundreds of questions about themselves. In fact, many of the answers can be provided simply by clicking on a dropdown option. With limited space for typing and only so much your thumbs can do on a mobile device, contact forms and other input fields need to be simplified.
I'd also suggest that you consider other ways to make it more convenient for users to log in, set up or provide information. The less work they have to do, the better.
Facebook logins are becoming ever more popular with mobile apps, and dating apps in particular have increasingly jumped on the bandwagon. Huggle is one of the many that do this:
2. Choose Powerful Colors
Color is an incredibly powerful part of any web design, especially so in mobile apps, which are fighting against waning user interest.
Take a look at the app icons above. Is it any surprise that two of the leading dating apps (Tinder and Bumble) use red and yellow, respectively, as their primary colors? It's not just because those colors are bright either.
Think about it like this. Tinder has a reputation for giving users an opportunity to find a long-term mate, as well as someone for a night. But the underlying message here? Tinder feeds your passion and does so quickly - two of the common psychological associations with the color red.
Bumble, on the other hand, is supposed to provide a safer environment for dating. While its users are free to swipe left or right on whomever they choose, it's up to the women to decide whether they want to open communication with potential mates. In essence, Bumble provides a more positive dating experience for its users, which makes yellow - a color synonymous with positivity and happiness - a smart choice.