Social interactions were re-invented with the creation of Facebook in 2004. In 2012, another app came along that changed the operations of romance – Tinder.

Tinder was originally incubated in Hatch Labs, an incubator in New York City, and has grown tremendously since its launch. In 2014, the dating app boasted to register 10 million daily active users that generate up to a billion swipes per day.

Moreover, as of 2017, the app is valued at about US$3 billion.

So how did the Tinder user base proliferate so quickly? A key factor was its intuitive User Interface (UI) – now called the ‘Tinder sort’ – that users used to run through potential suitors.

In this article, we will analyze Tinder’s user interface and copycats in other industries – predominantly fashion and e-commerce. In addition, we’ll look at the dating app’s implications on the Asian demographic and how corporations can learn from its prolific spread.

What Made Tinder Different

During Tinder’s rise as one of the top dating apps, it was met with close competition – Skout from San Francisco, USA and Plenty of Fish from Vancouver, Canada. What propelled it to the forefront of digital romance?

Tinder featured a UI that was different.

After logging in, a user on Tinder is presented with a stack of photos of romantic interests the app finds around the area. The app gives him or her a simple instruction – Swipe Left for No, Swipe Right for Yes.

UI for app

Should two users swipe each other, Tinder immediately notifies both with a message ‘It’s a Match!’ and they can finally begin sending texts to one another.

Now known as the Tinder sort, Tinder’s UI simplified the selection process of finding potential suitors to a binary option – swipe left or right.

Unlike other dating apps that require the user to plough through cumbersome lists, Tinder required only an input that registered as a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ from the user.

Additionally, Tinder had other key factors that supplemented the Tinder sort. For example, users could log into the app via their Facebook accounts with a simple click of a mouse. Users were also only notified of matches, effectively removing the fear of rejection.

Tinder and e-Commerce

Since the inception of Tinder to the Apple’s App Store and the Google Play store, the Tinder sort user interface has been adopted by various e-commerce startups.

The first was Bijou Commerce, a mobile commerce startup that aims to provide a modular platform. This platform aims to integrate seamlessly with the merchandiser’s IT infrastructure while allowing real-time stock visibility and the latest in-store technologies.

Bijou UI app

Another UK-based startup Grabble, a clothes shopping app has also adopted the Tinder-like user interface. The app uses swipes for ‘yes’ and adds clothes to the user’s shopping cart. The e-commerce startup raised US$1.8 million from angel investors in 2015 to expand into the US and Asia.


In 2016 it estimated its user base to be 375,000-strong with 100,000 monthly active users in 2016. Moreover, the app has been named one of the Top 100 Disruptive Brands by Marketing Week in 2016.

Tinder, Its UI and Asia

In Asia, the proliferation of smartphone use and the availability of mobile data will increase the size of the reachable market for Tinder as well as e-commerce applications. The mobile data use in Southeast Asia is expected to grow more than eightfold from 2013 to 2019. Moreover, the dating pool is to hit 420 million by 2025.

While Tinder’s main use will still be for finding love online, its spread into Asia will mean greater exposure for the Tinder sort interface to new users. We can expect to see startups adopting the interface to provide solutions in other markets and industries. For example, while an inanimate product is unable to ‘swipe right’ for a user, we can think of bridging gaps between several parties. Possibilities include employer-potential employee or customer-service provider.

In addition, what we can learn from Tinder’s rapid user generation and sustained retention is as straightforward as its binary user interface; that is to value simplicity over intricacy. Larger companies would do well generate and validate solutions from basic levels such as re-imagining customer interaction. The solution might not require complex product designs or marketing strategies. Sometimes, all that is required is a flick of the thumb for a revolutionary change in a company’s product, sales and revenue figures.