Hinge – Q&A With Chief Product Officer About New LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Features

Dating app Hinge has launched new features specifically designed to empower LGBTQIA+ users looking for love to more authentically represent and express themselves on the app.

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So what’s new? Well, first of all, users will now have access to new profile Prompts to help them form better connections based on similarities and compatibility within the LGBTQIA+ communities.

The new prompts include a range of icebreakers to empower people to better express themselves, such as 'I wish I could tell the younger version of myself', and 'the first TV character I ever identified with'. Under their profile settings, daters in the LGBTQIA+ community can select which prompts they want to display on their profile to tell their story and connect with others.

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Also new to Hinge is their updated algorithm. Hinge now offers more than 50 gender options and is now the first mainstream dating app to have an algorithm with gender selections that include ‘non-binary’. To further drive self-expression, the company also added pronouns and sexual orientation options to display on user profiles earlier this year.

These new additions to Hinge have been designed with support from LGBTQIA+ support organisation GLAAD.

We had a chat to Hinge's Chief Product Officer, Michelle Parsons, about the app's updates.

Tell us a bit about these new features on Hinge.
Over the past year, we developed app updates that address the specific challenges that LGBTQIA+ users face around communication and connection. I’m biased, but these are some of our most exciting app updates to date and come directly from user feedback. The latest is our new Prompts designed to help LGBTQIA+ daters connect based on similarities and compatibility. Some of the topics are what is their favourite LGBTQIA+ book and the first TV character they ever identified with. We also updated our algorithm, the system that recommends daters to each other, with a 'non-binary' gender selection. While we're the first mainstream app to be making these changes, we also recognise we still have a way to go.

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There are a few conversation starter Prompts. What went into deciding which prompts would be most effective for LGBTQIA+ users?
The key to developing these Prompts was listening to our LGBTQIA+ daters. Ultimately with Prompts we want to facilitate meaningful conversations that shine a light on how compatible two people are with each other, so it’s important to listen to the people who will use them. Something you should know is that we have a team of Ph.D. researchers and relationship experts dedicated to examining what makes dating app users successful in finding great dates. They conducted quantitative and qualitative research that helped us understand LGBTQIA+ users’ challenges around communication and connection.

Hinge worked with GLAAD on this. How important was it to have GLAAD’s input? And how were they able to contribute to the features?
It was important to us that these new features be authentic and empowering — especially for daters who are non-binary as they’re often disappointed and disheartened by dating apps. We consulted with GLAAD to develop these updates in a way that did just that.

As Hinge’s Chief Product Officer, what has been your role in the features?
I see my role as bringing Hinge’s mission to life in our app for our community. For us that means creating an app that quickly and effectively brings people together for great dates. Our mission is very personal to me. I found love on Hinge, so seeing our users go on dates and meet people who enrich their lives brings me a lot of joy.

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Why do you think it’s important as a dating app for these features to be available?
As part of the LGBTQIA+ community, I understand the profound impact of being able to date within a supportive and welcoming environment. These updates will help more people do that.

Hinge is now the first mainstream dating app to have an algorithm with gender selections including 'non-binary'. What’s it like to know this?
There is an expansive gender diversity, and Hinge adding a gender category for daters who are non-binary makes me proud. We want to not only continue innovating within our app but also advance the industry as a whole.

What has the response been like to the update so far?
The reactions from our community have been very heartwarming! It’s been so fulfilling to see how LGBTQIA+ daters feel they are better able to represent themselves and find people they’re truly compatible with.

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