Hi, I’m Arvind Mishra, head of the global Product team at eHarmony. In the fall of 2010, we launched our mobile apps for iPhone, iPod Touch and Android, and since then, we’ve continually been focused on improving the user experience of those apps as well as adding new features. Today, we just completed another exciting milestone. It is now possible to get started on eHarmony in roughly 10 minutes using a streamlined version of the Relationship Questionnaire created specifically for these devices.
The Relationship Questionnaire kicks off the entire eHarmony process. It helps us get to know you—and, most importantly, what qualities you want in a romantic partner. Every night, we use this information to find you your new matches. It’s a really important part of our service to get right.
A new experience for mobile devices
Bringing the eHarmony questionnaire to mobile devices offered a clean slate to think about how we could improve this experience for our members. It’s one of the aspects of our service that generates the most feedback, so we definitely wanted to take those comments into consideration. On the one hand, the questionnaire needs to capture all of the information that lets us make good matches for our members, but on the other we felt that people would only spend so long going through the questionnaire on a three- to four-inch screen.
Our teammates in R&D and Matching were a huge part of making this experience better. They are constantly experimenting with new questions and matching models to improve the quality of the matches our system makes for each member. For quite some time, they have been working on a way to dramatically reduce the number of questions we need to ask while still enabling us to deliver high-quality matches. They recently figured out a way to maintain a great matching experience while only asking 100 questions. (Although it gets even more refined if/when people complete the full questionnaire.)
We also realized early on in our process that the touch interface of a mobile app would be a great way to interact with our questionnaire. Most of the questions we need to ask are numeric value questions (“on a scale of 1-7 tell us…”) or list questions (“pick X choices from this list”). Those question types lend themselves very well to touch. In fact, one of our goals was to bring up the onscreen keyboard a minimum number of times (we got it down to 10 times through the entire mobile Relationship Questionnaire experience).
But even with touch, we didn’t want to the questionnaire to become quickly tiresome. So we added an auto–advance feature to move you to the next question without an extra touch, as well as an auto-save capability so you can easily complete the questionnaire in multiple sessions if you choose. These are quick and subtle ways to make getting started on eHarmony using mobile as easy as possible.
The other major change we’re introducing makes the Relationship Questionnaire feel more personal. Our mobile apps offer a way to try out a different way to bring customers into our service.
As we brainstormed different organizational concepts for the questionnaire, the metaphor of a book seemed to make a lot of sense, and here’s how we structured it:
The questionnaire is divided into logical chapters that each begin with an overview of why we ask certain types of questions. So whether you’re answering questions about your personality, or completing questions that will go towards filling out your profile, or even completing your match settings, you will have more insight into why we’re asking these questions and how they’ll be used.
Some of the questions have also been re-phrased into first-person statements. If you can picture yourself actually saying these statements, it should help you answer them more accurately.
Finally you’ll see helpful and encouraging messaging sprinkled throughout the experience to help you keep going.
Best of all, if we detect that an answer you’re providing may severely restrict the number of matches you’ll get, we’ll let you know right then and there so you can make the decision intentionally rather than inadvertently.
We hope that you find that our new mobile questionnaire is an easy and engaging way to get started using eHarmony. If you have feedback on it, please submit a comment to the blog. We’re listening and we’re always interested in hearing how we can make your experience on eHarmony even better.[gallery]