Nudging Tricks Used in Tinder

All my friends were having a great conversation after so many long time. Knowing about each other's life and finding out how good they all were doing in their life. But suddenly one of my friend’s phone rang with a notification sound and then he opens Tinder. Swiping left and right and validating or rejecting someone way before any without meeting that person in real life. How crazy that sounds like, “holding all the cards”.

Tinder is a mobile dating application that matches prospective partners with one another through a novel interface and interaction design. Users of the app are presented with potential dates made up of suggestions from their friend’s social networks and other people using the service from the surrounding locale.

How Successful is Tinder?

The number says it all

6.7 million paying Tinder subscribers, as of Q4 2020.

Total Tinder users are estimated at 66 million.

17% of US adults have used Tinder, rising to 52% of those aged 18–24.

Other estimates find the highest US Tinder penetration among 30–44-year-olds, at 19%, compared to 15% of 18–29-year-olds, if we consider only current users.

It is estimated that 72% of the US Tinder userbase is male, compared to 28% female.

50% of UK Tinder users and 56% of those in the US use the app at least once every few days.

Tinder 2020 revenue came to $1.4 billion.

Tinder accounted for 59% of the total Match Group revenue of $2.4 billion.

The US (40–43% over 2019–20) and the UK (5–8%) are the biggest contributors to Tinder revenue.

Breaking down the formula of Tinder’s Success

So without the end goal of finding a new girlfriend or even just going on a single date, why are they so obsessed with the app?

I decided to research the human brain to figure out the science behind this particular way of using Tinder. Here’s what we’re all actually getting when we swipe right.

A rush of feel-good chemicals in the brain

Every time someone uses Tinder, the brain release a neurochemical which comes with receiving a message from someone or getting or receiving a match. Tinder matches can signal a pleasurable reaction in the human body, specifically a release of dopamine in the brain.

(Dopamine: Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that basically reward chemical for your body. Also known as “Happy hormone”. It is responsible for our experiencing happiness.)

Dopamine Chemical Composition

A Framework: Fogg’s Behaviour Model (FBM)

Frameworks have arisen to help designers break down the sociological and psychological underpinning of persuasive design and aid in applying it in the field. Designers have struggled with applying these theories as they are often too broad and abstract but frameworks such as Fogg’s Behaviour Mode help.

Fogg Behavior Model

You receive a notification from Tinder that someone has liked you (external trigger) or you feel this itching desire to check if someone likes you (internal trigger).

This trigger makes you get your phone and open the app (action). Right after that, you get the reward — new likes, matches, messages. You check the new picks, swipe cards, replay messages investing more of your time and attention in your account.

It makes this investment hoping to get more rewards in the future. And the loop repeats.

What’s more important the reward we get is variable, it changes every time you open the app. It stimulates you to open the app more and more as you don’t know what you will get next.

receive a trigger → perform an action → get a reward → invest more.

The notification plays role in the external trigger. To know from whom you’re getting validation and who is giving you the importance acts as an internal trigger. Even after showing the paid plans user still focus on knowing who is validating them and not on time and money they are investing into it.

Breaking down of Design System

Tinder Interaction Design

The match card design is pretty simple — photo, name, age, one-line description, and/or distance from you. Tinder limits the number of information about the person reducing the cognitive load to make the first move.

Also, when you open the app you don’t know how many likes have you got, how many new matches await you. And this forces you to keep checking the app looking for the reward.

The desire to know it forces you to open the app more and more, creating the habit loop:

Note how the notification element is combined with the switcher and grabs your attention. Do I want to know how others liked me? You bet!

Whoa! To see these people I have to upgrade to the Gold account. Smooth. Tinder uses the nature of people’s interest in what other people think about us to tease. In our social life, we use different types of signals we send and receive. That’s how we select potential partners for relations, business, and so on. Everybody wants to know who likes me, but upgrade first.

Tinder uses the right accent on the benefits for me to upgrade — they show me the number of people who liked me to keep me motivated.

We have dealt with the people who liked me and look — there are some Top Picks. Let’s try it.

The is a ‘Scarcity’ effect — we value things more when they are hard to get. And people also link availability to quality. If something is so rare it should be worth it. The limited-time availability uses people’s fear of missing out. This tactic is often used with some perceived benefit for acting fast, like a reduced price or some additional bonus items.

  1. Time: the time taken to complete the behavior
  2. Money: the cost barrier to perform a behavior
  3. Effort: the physical effort it takes to perform a behavior
  4. Cycles: the mental exertion required to complete an activity
  5. Deviance: how socially acceptable it is to complete the behavior
  6. Routine: how routine the given behavior is (one has greater ability to perform behaviors that are routine compared with behaviors that are irregular)

Color System Used in Tinder

  1. Yellow (Rewind): Yellow is an upbeat and cheerful hue that is enlightening. It evokes pleasant feelings, captivating and charming with ease.
  2. Red (Reject/Dislike): It is a color of action and determination. Red is all about strength and physical needs, but it also is aggressive and dominant.
  3. Blue (Super-Like): Blue is the color of honesty, stability, and calmness. It also conveys trustworthiness and is often used by the authorities.
  4. Green (Like): Sense of Relaxation, strongly associated with luck. Sign of being right.
  5. Purple (Boost): Purple is the color of the supernatural. In the meaning of the colors, purple is full of wisdom but also carries some level of arrogance and is associated with luxury.


As we saw Tinder knows people’s nature very well. They effectively use different psychological techniques and behavioral principles to onboard and engage users. Well done!




Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

8 Logo Design Trends That Own 2018

The whole universe is made of curves Tiles

Making a good impression — things your visitors notice first when landing on your website

15 Terms You Need to Get Used to As a UX Designer

Five Native Figma Tools That Will Save You Time

Who is that person we had lunch with last month? — Micke

The first Bricks of our Design System

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Bhhavesh D

Bhhavesh D

More from Medium

How to Become Your Life’s Mentor

No More Rest Days

6 Goals to Achieve in 2022 — Unsolicited Idea

Take Charge of Your Day, Career, and Self-Image with Positive Attention