Tinder

Category: 

Description of App: 

Tinder is the fun way to connect with new and interesting people around you. Swipe right to like or left to pass. If someone likes you back, it’s a match! Chat with a match or snap a photo to share a Moment with all of your matches at once. It’s a new way to express yourself and share with friends.

Apple Watch Support: 

Not Known

Version: 

4.1.4

Free or Paid: 

Free

Device(s) App Was Tested On: 

iPhone

iOS Version: 

8.1.3

Accessibility Comments: 

With the understanding that this application is very photo-centric, I wanted to test the experience as a Voiceover user who is blind.

Set-up is simple. The app requires a Facebook account to work, so when you first install Tinder you're requested to give it permission to access your account. Tinder then pulls information from your Facebook -- your bio, friends list, interests and photos, of course -- to create your Tinder profile. The process took about 30 seconds.

The main screen, referred to as the discovery screen, is straightforward once you understand what you're doing. Tinder presents you with someone's profile picture, which takes up the center of the phone's display. There are three unlabeled buttons at the bottom: one with an "X" on the bottom left corner for deny/pass; a button to view the person's complete profile and bio in the middle; and a button with a visual heart for like on the right. While these buttons aren't labeled, they never change.

There are three labeled buttons/tabs at the top of the application, above the person's profile picture: settings, discovery and matches. You can edit your profile and change the age range and distance radius under Settings. You can view a list of people you've matched with and send them a message under matches. All of these sections are clearly labeled. I had no problem editing my profile, changing pictures, adding a bio, viewing a list of matches and messaging others.

Here are two problems that voiceover users will encounter with Tinder:

1. If you swipe left and right through the discovery screen, Voiceover will read names of upcoming people who are not currently in focus on the display. These names are not shown visually on the screen, and this can make some Voiceover users think the application is inaccessible. The trick is to avoid swiping through the screen, which is why orientation to the button locations is important.

After you choose to deny or like someone using the unlabeled buttons at the bottom of the screen, tinder will switch to another person's profile. Sometimes, the name of the person who has focus on the display is not automatically announced by voiceover. If you're not sure who is in focus, double tap the middle bottom button to view their full profile. You can then swipe through their name, age and bio.

2. I haven't found a way to adjust the age range or distance radius with Voiceover under the settings screen. These options rely on a frustratingly inaccessible slider bar.

The bottom line: I'm not sure I'd call tinder accessible, exactly -- there are some unlabeled buttons and you arguably really need vision to truly take advantage of it -- but it's usable. You shouldn't have much trouble if you're goal is to throw away an hour tapping on profiles and reading their often short bios, and minus the photos, that's about the only thing people use tinder for.

VoiceOver Performance: 

VoiceOver reads most page elements.

Button Labeling: 

Most buttons are clearly labeled.

Usability: 

There are some accessibility issues with this app, but it can still be used if you are willing to tolerate these issues and learn how to work around them.

Other Comments: 

Why would a blind person use this app, anyway? The simple answer is that it’s popular. In fact, I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned it here. While Tinder is often called a hookup app, it’s wildly popular with college students and 20 something’s. Chances are that most people around you have used it before.

And while I found myself addicted and speedily flicking through profiles just like everyone else, the app felt disconcertingly unfulfilling to me as a blind person. I felt like someone had given me a set of keys to a car and told me to drive even though I can’t see street signs. Tinder is dominated by pictures, and bios – which are hit-or-miss, sometimes a couple paragraphs but often just a few words – left me feeling shallow and empty.

I haven't deleted it yet, though ...

Developer's Twitter Username: 

@Tinder