Putting the “academic” research in UX

An article I wrote a few months ago – called Putting the “Academic” Research in UX – has been published on UXinsight Notes. The article focuses on parallels between UX and academic research. Here’s an excerpt:

Whether in academia or UX, we do research in order to systematically uncover what people need, want, and desire. We do research to avoid coming to conclusions that simply reflect our private beliefs and opinions. By reflecting on the research process in this way, both types of researchers can improve their research techniques, argue persuasively for more time and resources for the research process, and, in the end, better the products (or papers) they are developing and improving.


UXinsight Notes is a brand-new (still in beta!), Netherlands-based platform that looks to be a great resource for those interested in UX research. It aims to connect, stimulate and inspire UX researchers to share and expand their expertise.

Interview recruitment on Tinder

Phase one of project “Is There Something Missing?” is underway: the academic interviews! Soon, I will share more about the interview questions and naturally, the responses. But first, recruitment.

So what’s it like recruiting people for interviews on Tinder?

Because I’m aiming to interview an equal number of men and women, I had to create two new Tinder profiles, one as a man, and one as a woman. At first this seemed like a logistical mess, because Tinder is a mobile app, which would mean switching between accounts on my phone. Then I discovered an extension called Botinder for Google Chrome, which allows me log in from my laptop – and since I have two, I can keep an eye on both accounts simultaneously – and stay logged into my personal Tinder account on my phone. Problem solved!

Since you need a Facebook account to get a Tinder account, up first was creating two Facebook accounts, identical in every way (like location and age) except the sex. I used the name TinderStudy. I had the idea that Facebook accounts needed a minimum number of friends to set up a Tinder account, but apparently this is not the case, as I was able to set up both Tinder accounts with no Facebook friends at all (this would explain some of the graphic Tinder profiles I’ve come across – I always wondered, who is Facebook friends with people who have a penis for a profile picture?).

Like Facebook, the Tinder accounts are identical. They both have the same profile picture, which is the Erasmus logo along with an invitation to participate and a contact email address, and they have the same Discovery Preferences: same age range, 18-50, same distance, 25 miles from my home location, and show both men and women. The logo-as-profile-picture idea came from a recently published article that interviewed Grindr users and created a similar profile for recruitment.

After setting up the Tinder accounts, I decided to “swipe right” on the first 50 profiles I came across. As mentioned the profile picture does provide a contact email address, but given Tinder’s method of matching people before they can communicate, I thought perhaps this would encourage more contact via “in app” chats. I was wrong, so far. Details: I did this first with the female TinderStudy account. As I swiped right and counted to 50, I realized something astonishing – I was already getting matches as I went through this initial 50! I had just set up the Tinder account moments before, and in the first 50 profiles I matched with nine men.

I wondered if it would be the same for the male account which would encounter mainly women. I made only one match in this initial process – and it was with a man. This certainly feeds the rumor that men swipe right (more often/always? more rapidly?) though Tinder profiles. As I write this piece I now have 11 male matches and zero female (the initial guy match blocked me), yet only one has contacted me through the app to say he is possibly interested in participating.

The trend continued: Most have contacted me via email. This makes me think providing the email was the best strategy, and perhaps I will refrain from swiping right from now on. But of the 10 email responses I’ve received, only one is from a woman. I had the idea that I would have trouble finding men, until I remembered that for women on Tinder, I am a man asking to interview them. No wonder I’m not getting any response, given what I’ve learned about bad male behavior on Tinder.

My first interview is today. It will be interesting to see how everything proceeds and whether I can find enough women interested in participating.

Stay tuned!