So after doing all the online dating site research, I started thinking, what kind of site I would build if I could build one? What sort of features would it have? But as I started sketching I noticed a lot of it seemed to be following the sort of standard patterns in terms of the online profile and the overall feeling. And as I thought about it more I realized the common problem with a lot of these things is the way they sort of turn people into products. You lose that sort of human connection after browsing through all these profiles.
I felt like I didn’t want make just another standard profile site. I also felt like I hadn’t made any sort of “critical media” project lately. Then I saw a friend’s status update on Facebook: “If there was an Amazon product review for me as a person, I wonder what it would say.” And so, Amazon Cupid had to be born:
It was surprisingly enjoyable to hack up an existing Amazon page and create my own, partially because of how REAL it felt. I was going to do just a photoshop mock up or something, but actually doing s semi-working prototype gives it a completely different feeling. The fact that it responds when you resize and hover over links and things. It’s just real enough to trick myself into believing it actually exists (make & believe!).
I had my friend write the BFF review for me. The rest of the reviews are basically slightly tweaked from The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat: And Other Clinical Tales, the book I used as a starting point for the entire page.
It was also great studying amazon’s product pages in such detail. Normally I skim over a lot of stuff so I don’t really notice how much stuff is actually crammed into one of these pages. Mostly I felt like I had to make it because I thought it was a funny idea. But also it seems like a good exercise in pushing something to an extreme in terms of what I wouldn’t want to actually make for a real site, a way to sort of encapsulate all the things that make online dating sites so un-human.
A few months ago I hopped back onto OkCupid to meet some folks. And then I had this idea that maybe it would be fun to make my own dating site as a way to learn how to make a web app of some kind. I figure making a profile and adding information to it is a pretty standard sort of web app thing to do. So I proceeded to sign up for a bunch of other sites to see how they were doing things, only to conclude that for the most part they weren’t doing things very well at all. From the user interface to the user experience, mostly I was amazed at how awful things are in the online dating world and yet how profitable they continue to be despite their serious flaws. I guess connecting with people is always in demand. Here’s some thoughts on how I felt on various sites. I didn’t pay for any of them, so these are based on being a free/unconverted user.
So, last summer when my friend Brooklyn and I were at Eyeo we sat at a bar talking about her Nike Fuelband, which is awesome and cool and from the future. But at the same time, for something that you are supposed to wear all day, every day it doesn’t exactly go with a lot of outfits. Seems like a silly thing to be worried about, but really the issue is a matter of personalization of wearable technology. It’s great that these things are becoming more mainstream and common but, unlike our phones which have a ton of cases in various shapes and colors, it seems there aren’t a lot of personalization choices for these extremely personal items yet.
Anyways, so we talked about how we could make a bunch of different bracelet encasements for the band. Talked about design ideas. Brooklyn gave lots of valuable insight as a user since I didn’t have my own yet (covering it entirely like in the sketch wouldn’t work). Maybe it could be a Kickstarter or something. Talked about some sketches. And then I moved to SF in July and things got put on hold. After a few months I bought my own Fuelband (and love it). And a few months later I finally received the 3D printer I won from Instructables. And then I moved into a house where one of my roommates, Serge, happens to be a bona fide mechanical engineer. And then we had the week off for Thanksgiving. It takes a long time for things to magically line up right for things to actually happen. But after months of waiting/putting it off we have a prototype! (Photos below)