How to Create a Dating App: A Step-by-Step Guide and Development Cost
The technological landscape has been actively changing in the last decade and influencing various aspects of our life. Dating has been impacted by the processes ongoing in the digital world as well.
The stats goes that in 2019 more than 45% of Americans use dating solutions and above 20% admit their relations started online. Similar data is demonstrated in other countries. So the most popular way of meeting a spouse nowadays is a dating app.
No wonder the market of dating applications is constantly expanding and the demand for innovation in this industry does not cease.
Though the number of solutions grows, there are only a few, which satisfy the users. The present-day mobile dating apps already boast accurate cutting edge algorithms and it’s high time to know the ropes and tricks to all those who are eager to enter the market at the nearest time.
What do peoples expect from a dating application?
Dating solutions are already treated like social networks, people widely use them and involve the others. However, there are certain differences and the foremost feature the users expect from such an app is security. Today, it’s vital to invest in the security checking of the users when developing an app for dating. Being your priority the security and safe UX might become your competitive advantage.
The following important aspect to pay attention to is an intuitive UI, Tinder pulled over most of the competitors precisely because of its intuitive interface and effortless swipe technique. Speaking about the online dating apps development we could not but should mention those who top the market at present to get a better understanding of the other features needed to be implemented.
Who leads the industry today?
The first app occurring in the mind when speaking about modern dating solutions is obviously Tinder. It’s available in almost 30 languages, used in almost 200 countries, encompasses 50 mln users and boasts over a million dates a week. Today the app is reputable for being the best at forming long-distance relations and successful marriages.
The user should no longer have an account on Facebook but has to be 18 years old at least. He can provide his short bio, add up to 6 images and a link to Instagram. Besides, it’s possible to define who he or she would like to see.
When showing a user Tinder displays a photo, name, and age, the swipes help to like, pass or «super like» the person. If two persons have swiped right (liked) each other they are suggested to exchange messages.
That’s the advantage of Tinder — you’ll never get an unsolicited message until you show any interest in the person. So this is one of the best dating apps for serious intentions, though a certain number of hookups are naturally present.
Facebook dating app
Facebook dating, though not available everywhere, has been rolled out in the USA and gained popularity due to the possibility to use it along with Facebook and not to create a new account in a new app.
Through just several additional steps a user can set up a profile on Facebook dating and define the gender he or she is looking for, confirm location, then a profile picture should be chosen. A few days may pass until a match will be suggested and the one who got it can just tap the heart icon on the profile to open the option and send a message.
A person can also choose up to 9 contacts, Facebook or Instagram, as a «secret crush» if somebody of them also selects a user, he or she will be notified that the feelings go both ways.
OkCupid is one more giant of the dating sphere, having years of history. The individual’s journey starts by filling out a long profile, which can be linked to the Instagram account. The answers to the questions may be given with the potential match consideration for better compatibility visualization.
Though the option quick match exists, the general app interface is rather clunky and the user can get messages from anybody, which is obviously a drawback.
How to develop a dating app?
Now, as you know a bit more about the dating applications existing, and the fact that there are no two solutions similar, we can speak further on about the way such a product should be created.
The following steps may be considered a working algorithm for dating app development:
Define the principles your app would follow
The modern market is flooded with variable apps for dating, and lots of them are quite successful. So, creating a dating app to beat the competitors and gain your audience, you should thoroughly study the market and the players.
It’s essential to figure out the key features you need and how to make a dating app stand out, without copying the solutions that already exist. Some apps, for instance, focus on a certain country, and then it’s vital to study the mentality of people in the target area. The other applications consider a certain age group. In such a case, you need to create a unique product to attract the users of a particular generation like TikTok did for teenagers.
So, you should define your focus and form a unique value proposition to move on.
Decide on the platform for your solution
The platform is often dependent on the project’s budget. If the budget is minimal, you can choose just one platform. A good idea is also to create a dating app on flutter, to make it cross-platform.
Study the functionality needed
As soon as you’ve defined your unique value proposition during the discovery stage,
you need to define all the user-intended features you want to implement.
A mobile dating app development can’t do without:
It’s the basis of any app and the first step of interaction between the users. A good idea is to implement a social login and possibly social media integration features in addition to a standard bio, hobby details, dating preferences, lifestyle, habits, etc.
Chat is an indispensable feature for people to connect online, it should be simple and convenient to support the users’ mutual interest.
The present-day mobile dating app development is location-based. People are eager to find a match nearby. Ensure you take it into consideration when building your product. You can allow the users to adjust the location and proximity of a potential match in the app. What’s more, you can add some location-specific features with social activities included, like coffee shops, bars, movie visits, and alike.
It’s a critical feature that allows the users to make their search laser-focused. That’s why it’s advisable to implement filters, like age, location, proximity, interests, hobby, preferences, etc.
The possibility to approve or disapprove of a prospective match can make your matching mechanic state-of-the-art. Make it based on the image, profile details, interests, and preferences, or some other characteristics.
A user should be able to adjust his push notifications to receive only the ones they want to receive: about new matches, new incoming messages, or new likes, for instance.
To make sure the chatting is private, secure, and does not reach the point of harassment, a user should be always able to block the other users. It’s vital to implement this feature in dating application development nowadays.
Analyze the benefits your product will provide
The foremost concern of dating app users is security and privacy. Keep the safety top-notch and present it as a key benefit to your target users.
When you look for a romantic match you don’t want any difficulties, do you? So make your product intuitive and user-friendly. Find your own unique «swipe» and lure your users in.
Consider creating a niche app version to serve some specific user groups, like veggies, religious communities, etc.
Work out the app structure, UI design and proper UX
When questioning yourself how to design a dating app to appeal to the users, think about their convenience. The next catchy detail to craft is a perfect UX design; the users should fall in love with it once and forever, so make it clear, simple, and intuitive. Try to incorporate the most important details on a single screen and make the further interaction intuitive, convenient, hassle-free, yet unique. Since almost half of the users rely on their thumbs when dealing with smartphones, your perfect navigation should involve just one finger and several clicks.
Decide on a tech stack to use for development
How to create a dating app to combine security, extended databases, and powerful servers? This is the challenge you should solve with the right tech stack chosen. A sound idea is to have a RESTful API to connect a web server, like Nginx, AWS, to any web-based client, possibly blended with a real-time API enabling faster data transfer within and through the application.
For native development SWIFT, Kotlin, or Java languages can be used. Google’s flutter can be used to respond to inputs faster.
For databases there is a choice of MongoDB, SQL, Redis. The frameworks to work with are Express.Js, React, Node.Js.
To integrate payments, consider Stripe, CCAvenue, or PayPal. Google Maps will be required for a geolocation feature.
Develop an MVP
At present Stfalcon often advises its clients to start with MVP. On the one hand, you can launch and try the product faster, on the other you can effectively test it with real users in the respective market. You launch a product, get the feedback, and if it’s welcome, craft the following iteration optimized and improved (repeat several times if it’s necessary).
Choose the revenue model and way to monetize your product
There are various monetization strategies of dating applications. Some apps take fees for sign-ups, subscription-based services, premium options, super likes, turning off the ads, location change, etc. You can choose some single way to get revenue or a combination of several.
Following the steps above, you can get a clear plan of how to build your solution, what platform to choose, which features to implement, and principles to follow.
Remember, that for products like this the first impression is of great importance, just like the first date, so consider the proper introduction of the app functionality for the people who just start using the app. A sliding tutorial may be a good idea.
Which dating app features to choose?
And finally, about the features, your app should have:
- Sign up/in option, better through social networks.
- User profile, the information can be extracted from social networks.
- Geolocation to find soulmates nearby.
- Variable matching algorithms to make the search convenient, flexible and quick, based on different parameters, like age, hobby, location, etc.
- Messaging/Chatting to facilitate communication between the users (don’t forget to think about stickers here.
- Real-time synchronization for the user to always stay up-to-date.
- Notifications either push or SMS for the users not to waste time and be able to switch to chatting if there is a match.
- Swiping, having proved to be convenient in Tinder, the feature is worth implementing.
- Settings to customize user preferences (either it’s profile visibility, sounds or search filters).
- Reviews and rating after the first date can also be considered.
- Payment integration and administration to offer premium service to the users.
- Admin panel is necessary to manage your app and its users, solving the issues that may set in.
How much it costs?
Naturally, you have now a question — what is the budget for such app development. Our calculator will easily prompt you with the average sum needed. As you can see from the video below, our rough estimation is about 70K+. However, each project is discussed with the client individually, and we are eager to analyze your idea in more detail.
With over a decade of experience in web and mobile development, Stfalcon has carried out multiple projects related to Dating App in particular. To mention some, we’ve chosen Triplook.
Stfalcon.com has developed a design and a mobile application for iOS and Android platforms. Server-end portion of the app was implemented on client’s side as a convenient and well-documented REST-API.
The other case to mention is UME — a dating app for Android and iOS. Today people prefer to communicate via smartphones so using them for finding new friends and partners is a logical step. For UME startup we build a prototype, developed iOS and Android apps and created API.
For various realtime functions in UME we have written our own service responsible for processing events from the publisher (it’s the main app in our case). It sends info about a new event (such as a message or match) to the server and the server sends this event to the client:
- if the user is online — via sockets
- if the user is offline — via push-notifications or email
This solution is simple and doesn’t rely on any particular programming language or framework — messages are exchanged via AMQP protocol.
Obviously, the field for development and improvement is vast and the soil is fertile. Now you can use this article as a source of inspiration or a kind of tutorial to take actions, anyway, we are nearby to provide you with consultancy and support. Together we will definitely make your new solution stand out from the crowd, let’s combine your creativity and Stfalcon expertise.