A New Dating App Is Shaking Up The Swipe To Curb Bad Behavior

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Luck Dating App

The swipe has become the symbol of a generation. To the right, it’s shorthand for like, lust, and if you’re lucky, love. To the left, it signifies dislike, disgust, and disappointment. It seems shocking that a simple gesture has come to mean so much, but it was no accident.

Tinder’s creators worked tirelessly to create a fun physical mechanism for the app, tapping UX designer Loren Brichter (who created the familiar pull-to-refresh feature now used by most apps) to design their own iconic gesture. The groundbreaking swiping interface turned dating into a game - and an addictive one at that.

Sean Rad, one of Tinder’s two co-founders, once told TIME, “Nobody joins Tinder because they’re looking for something. They join because they want to have fun. It doesn’t even matter if you match because swiping is so fun.”

Therein lies the problem for many daters: it is fun, but it’s only fun. Singles with more serious intentions feel underserved by a system that encourages people to “keep playing” rather than to foster real connections. And that’s where Albert Nguyen comes in.

Nguyen is the co-founder of LUCK, a new Austin-based app that boldly proclaims “half of guys on dating apps suck” and aims to “get rid of these guys and their obnoxious behaviors by raising the ‘effort’ bar in online dating.”

The app’s central premise is that men too often swipe right mindlessly on dating apps as a way of hedging their bets. It overloads the system with meaningless matches, causing more work and frustration for women. To combat this, LUCK employs a three-swipe system instead of the standard two.

“In our system, a right swipe is a 'real' like, a down swipe is a 'fun' like and left is not interested,” Nguyen explained to CultureMap Austin. Users only match if they select the same kind of like, so “real” swipes will only connect with other singles interested in serious relationships, while “fun” likes will only match with other users in the market for a low-key fling.

Along with matching users based on intent, LUCK further discourages bad behavior by disabling the copy and paste function in messaging so serial swipers can’t recycle the same tired messages over and over again. Users must also engage with a word puzzle that gamifies the initial conversation in order to send a message.

Nguyen says this helps filter out users who aren't willing to make the effort. "We hope that by getting guys to spend time working on these puzzles, they will value their matches more," he added.

There are also limited windows of time in which matches can communicate (24 hours for fun matches, 5 days for real matches) to discourage users from becoming “pen pals” who never meet in real life, a problem often complained about by online daters.

The big question, of course, is whether people will be willing to jump through so many hoops when there are simpler apps available. Nguyen remains hopeful. “I think people are curious to see how this experiment plays out,” he said.