What We Learned From Building The PreVue Dating App
At NS804, we love developing apps like PreVue that positively impact users. PreVue is a dating app that breaks the mold of what users have come to expect from online dating and modern dating applications. Nowadays, popular options include the likes of Bumble, OkCupid, Tinder, and many others. And while these have revolutionized modern dating by allowing users to meet those outside of their ethnic backgrounds, social circles, and even geographic locations — they’ve also introduced a lot of problems.
The founder & CEO of PreVue — Lucanus J. Grady — briefly described these problems in his mission statement: “Dating app profiles had become just this fabrication to attract a quantity of candidates like it was a game. And it’s just hard, right? So I just kept thinking, there must be a better way! How do we filter out all the nonsense, cut through the heavily-doctored pictures, the wordy biographies, and just the genuine lack of honesty?”
Grady’s assessment regarding the current state of the modern dating app holds true, and there’s a real need for a fresh approach. Fortunately, Grady did approach things differently when formulating PreVue, a video-based dating platform. With PreVue, users take a short 22-second video without filters, showing off their true selves. The nuances in their facial expressions and mannerisms provide a far more authentic picture of who they are than edited photos, biographies, or text messages.
We helped bring PreVue to life and feel privileged to have worked closely with Grady on his innovative dating app concept. Our partnership on this exciting project has been a relatively smooth process. However, we did learn several important lessons that we’ll discuss in greater detail below.
Modern Dating In Crisis
Now, you may think that there are already too many dating apps flooding the marketplace — and that’s true. But have you asked yourself if these apps help or hinder users from dating successfully? And if you’ve been out of the dating pool for a while now, you may be shocked to learn that the modern dating scene isn’t very healthy, to put it lightly.
While apps such as Tinder make it incredibly easy for users to find matches in their area, that doesn’t mean these are quality matches. If anything, Tinder and many similar dating apps facilitate hook-up culture, where sexual encounters are at the forefront, and long-lasting relationships come last. Gen Z and Millenials in the younger age range may only be looking for short-term relationships or ‘situationships.’ And that’s perfectly fine for some but completely wrong for those wanting deep and meaningful relationships.
Furthermore, things don’t look rosy for most American men under 30 who remain single. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, approximately 63% of men in this age bracket find themselves single compared to 34% of women. And if that wasn’t bad enough, fewer single American men are looking to date now than before the Covid pandemic (42% now versus 49% in 2019).
Things get worse still, as an overabundance of online pornography and OnlyFans models grab male attention and interest at a disturbingly high rate. And while we hope this trend will change at some point, it’s definitely an ominous sign that we can’t afford to ignore. From a societal and economic standpoint, it isn’t good if young men forgo dating and relationships, as this will lead to a demographic decline in the foreseeable future.
How Does PreVue Solve Notable Problems?
The best and most successful apps solve problems that users often encounter. And as we’ve already covered in significant detail, modern dating is in crisis mode with plenty of problems. Moreover, the creator of PreVue, Lucanus J. Grady, has experienced the pain points of modern dating apps firsthand. With most dating apps, it’s too easy for users to enhance their looks via filters and present a false self through their biographies.
And that’s why he set out to offer an alternative that allows users to date with intention, where they can see, hear, and get the vibe from a potential candidate before taking things further. Thus, it’s difficult for users on the PreVue platform to present themselves inauthentically, as the short form 22-second videos are great at conveying subtle changes in facial expressions and voices that accurately reveal the candidate’s appearance, emotions, and desirability.
But another reason why video is such a powerful medium is that it’s become the number one way to distribute and consume content today. Platforms such as Instagram and TikTok have carved a path for creating and sharing short-form videos effectively, and it’s time that dating apps catch up!
How Does PreVue Work?
PreVue offers users a dead simple onboarding process that’s as frictionless as possible. This dating app only requires the most applicable information from the user, their location, and their dating preferences. Then, it’s time to film the 22-second-long video with no filters or uploads permitted. Once done, the user may access the portal with all candidates that match their criteria. Furthermore, PreVue will match users based on what they said and even the backgrounds in their videos.
PreVue officially launched in Boston, MA, due to the city’s vibrant and ethnically diverse culture. This works well, as dating with intention is something that the people of Boston want in a dating app. And it’s a great success thus far, with over 7,000 downloads and 1,200 active users over the past two months.
While it’s still early days, users have responded positively to PreVue. Many are happy with how much more natural matches feel compared to other dating apps in the marketplace. It’s also easier for users to initiate conversations due to how PreVue manages profiles, and there’s a refreshing lack of spam accounts and creepy users.
And similarly to other dating apps in the marketplace, there’s a free version of PreVue available. However, users can opt for in-app purchases, such as PreVue Premier 1 Month at $19.99, Unlimited Connections 24h at $6.99, and Video Chat 1h at $2.99.
What Surprised Us About The Target Demographic Of PreVue?
PreVue successfully eradicated issues commonly found in other dating apps, such as catfishing. And so far, it seems that users are having more meaningful interactions in PreVue than with other alternatives, which was one of the primary goals of this project all along.
However, we initially anticipated that college users between the ages of 20 and 25 would make up our target audience. But we resonated more with the young professional demographic instead.
At first, this was surprising, but it makes sense since younger professionals are more likely to seek long-term partners for fulfilling relationships. And PreVue’s video-based approach facilitates the pursuit of these types of relationships, as users can easily screen out the chancers, players, and other disingenuous candidates.
What Was The Development Process Like?
The development process went smoothly, but we could have benefited from an entirely Agile approach. In hindsight, it would have been better if we released smaller feature sets since we’re now making changes on the fly based on user data and feedback we’ve obtained.
That’s why at NS804, we always recommend that our clients scale back on their concepts to get their apps to market quicker. Users will always reveal what they want, and we can always pivot quickly based on user feedback.
However, we did proceed with simple and clean code that was modular and flexible from the early stages of the project. If there’s one thing that every developer should know is that planning proper architecture saves a ton of time.
Our development team includes four members, two founders, a marketing team, and a public relations (PR) team. While the development team may seem small, it’s actually the right size for this project and managed to complete it successfully. The build process took 12 months, which included a very long BETA to ensure we gathered enough feedback to launch the best product possible. But without the BETA and the additional scope, it would have taken around eight months.
Which Programming Languages Did We Use During Development?
NS804 is fundamentally a native mobile app developer. That means we use programming languages, frameworks, tools, and APIs for creating native apps for Android and iOS. We could choose hybrid mobile app development tools like Flutter or React Native to reduce development time and cost. However, that would result in lower-quality apps lacking the native look, feel, and performance users have come to expect.
And given that PreVue is a dating app that must deliver video content regularly and consistently, we had to go native since performance is imperative. Thus, we chose Swift for developing the iOS version and Kotlin for the Android version.
Both Swift and Kotlin are modern, high-level, and statically typed languages that are easier to debug and maintain than the languages they’re gradually replacing, namely, Objective-C and Java. A side benefit of using Swift and Kotlin is that they integrate flawlessly with the latest user interface (UI) toolkits, such as SwiftUI and Jetpack Compose UI. And that allows us to create attractive and responsive UIs that look and feel native on a wide variety of modern mobile devices.
How Crash Reporting And User Journeys Helped Us?
While we did not have any bugs reported, we did implement crash monitoring and user journeys built into the app. So we know if any issues arise before users report these to us, which allows us to take a proactive approach and fix these issues.
The user journeys allow us to see where users may drop off during the process. And this allows us to refine and tailor our offering that will best suit end-user needs. The ultimate goal of the user journey is to determine the optimal path within the app that will enhance the user experience (UX). Ideally, users must reach their goals quickly and easily without being stumped by an unintuitive UI or other questionable design choices.
Due to our user-centric approach to design, we’ve regularly updated the UI to meet users’ needs. To date, our users benefit from a clean, slick, modern, and highly intuitive UI. And this allows them to engage with our dating app in a fun way without breaking their flow since the screen isn’t cluttered with text and any design elements that cause confusion.
What’s Next For PreVue?
PreVue has made a notable impact in a short space of time, and the future bodes well for our dating app. As we’ve already witnessed, there’s a real need for a platform that makes the dating experience much more honest and meaningful.
So, what have we got planned for PreVue moving forward? Currently, it’s only available in Boston and Washington DC. But we will open availability to new markets and expand our international footprint. Furthermore, we’ll use Machine Learning (ML) to enhance our existing matching algorithm. We started with a basic algorithm designed for maximum matches while the user base scales.
It will be a learning experience as we use tools that improve the matching process over time. Our goal is to ensure that PreVue users will only have candidates appear in their feeds that align perfectly with what they’re looking for in potential partners.
And speaking of partners, Lucanus J. Grady shared a few thoughts about his experience working with us: “Top Tier communication. Excellent relationship with the CEO. Always extremely knowledgeable and eager to help. Has provided assistance outside of the scope of responsibility and is an intangible member of our team. The company and its founder are now personal friends due to NS804’s core ethos and incredible professionalism.”
The Bottom Line
Working on PreVue, coupled with our close and fruitful relationship with our client, has made the development process an enjoyable and eye-opening journey. Furthermore, it’s a privilege to work with talented people that have all contributed to a dating app that conforms with our client’s visionary approach. Contact NS804 today to learn how we’ll help you create phenomenal and trailblazing dating apps!