[App Friday] Dating app Mingout wants you to go on a date on the Moon, but its clunky interface sees no takeoff for us

[App Friday] Dating app Mingout wants you to go on a date on the Moon, but its clunky interface sees no takeoff for us

You would think that modern online dating apps would have made it easier to find and connect with people over mutual likes or dislikes, but that’s not always the case.

“I love Harry Potter, reading animated fanfiction, dogs, random travel plans, sangria and bobbleheads,” read Arjun’s profile (name changed for obvious reasons) on this new dating app made in india, Mingout which promises metaverse dates.

My finger quivered, ready to “ask him out”. After all, I like all those things too! Did I just meet my soul mate? Another me?

I “sent an invitation” to him and a few minutes later the app pinged me saying he accepted it! It was already a big Saturday for me.

Except 20 minutes later, it wasn’t.

As someone who has used dating apps like Hinge and Bumblebee sporadically I’ve learned that you want to strike when the iron is still hot – when you can still remember each other’s profiles and preferences in a sea of ​​thousands of such profiles. You want to start a conversation as early as possible, and at least explore them a bit before moving on.

That’s why Bumble, Hinge and the like work – you match with someone and start chatting with them.

Mingout app interface

Of course, there are additional features – Hinge, for example, needs you to to respond to a “prompt” (most often, to replies posted by the potential match, or a photo), or Bumble prompts you to say hello to someone with an interesting question – things to start a conversation.

With Mingout however, things don’t happen that way.

When you register on the application, it asks you to choose a list of Activities that you would like to do with your match, virtually like playing quizzes, listening ghazals together, play Truth or Dare, go on virtual work dates, show each other your plants on a video call, and more. You must choose at least three from the list, and when someone matches you, they can choose from one of the three listed activities to do with you.

In Arjun and my case, I sent him an invite to play “would you rather” with me on the app. He agreed, and I did a little victory dance because I was really interested in this person who loved everything I did. All the endless talk we’d have about Naruto and his many crazy arcs, and if he was that unexcited about Fantastic Beasts: Dumbledore’s Secrets as I was!

None of this happened because the app blasts you through hoops to access the chat option.

Once you have chosen “the activity”, the app first prompts you to answer one of 3-4 questions it asks, then takes you to a page that sometimes says “meeting plan -waits for you” or sometimes asks you to “schedule” an appointment.

When I clicked on Arjun’s profile, he said something like “um oh, Arjun is busy right now”.

I thought maybe he was playing a game or something with someone else, so I decided to wait. Five minutes later, he connected with me on Instagram and pinged me that my Mingout profile also said I was “busy right now” on another date.

Mingout moon date (Image credit: Mingout Youtube video)

We were both extremely confused as to what had happened, until I realized, somehow, that I was “playing a game” with someone else and that I had not left this window.

Basically, Mingout only lets you chat with one person at a time, and if you want to switch between matches, you have to completely remove the person you were talking to – or at least that’s the impression I had.

Too much work

Dating is hard enough trying to skirt all the awkwardness, engaging your “Spidey” instincts to gauge what they are looking for in a relationship, keeping an eye out for red flags and basically trying to really connect with someone one in a crowd of people vying for your attention.

And Mingout doesn’t make it easy, which is contrary to what dating apps are supposed to do.

Don’t get me wrong – the idea behind this dating app is not prosaic.

They really want you to start a conversation and not just the boring old way where you just say hello before losing interest and moving on. They try to do something unique and interesting.

Mingout currently has Over 10,000 downloads on the Google Play Store, but no ratings or reviews yet. Their claim is, “All we’re saying is you’ll have better first dates. Where things go from here is just you. But we’re going to start off on a high.” “

There’s no doubt the app makers have the right idea – dating over the past two years in the midst of a pandemic where you can’t venture out much to meet someone has been difficult, and make them you virtual via video calls have helped. Even the likes of Hinge and Bumble have pushed their video call features over their chat features during lockdowns, so Mingout is on the right track.

(Image source: Mingout)

But the BIG problem is that the application is too much work.

This don’t go away fast enough – even setting up your profile is a task and requires patience because there are video checks and then you have to choose activities and answer questions, it’s endless.

Second, it’s too much cluttered. There are too many options – virtual dates, activities, metaverse parties, virtual events and even the way you have to swipe to scroll through someone’s profile is confusing, not to mention the app is clunky and loads photos , especially very slowly.

“I kept turning around all the time, the app was too confusing. I was excited about the events and the games, but there’s quite a learning curve to really understand what’s going on,” Arjun echoed my view on the platform as we discussed it one evening on Instagram direct messages where we had now moved, abandoning Mingout.

The verdict

The app is a ‘swipe left’ for me – we are NO GO for Mingout.

The app does its best to get people to engage with each other, but it tries also hardat least for me where I prefer not to spend time scrolling or trying to navigate the app, but filtering profiles and talking to people.

The totality metaverse take falls woefully short of what the platform’s Youtube video featuring its “Moon” date promises, and it honestly looks like a weak attempt at best. The events option has often consisted of people doing something like a Youtube or Instagram LIVE, or even a Google Meet work call where they talk to a camera, and you keep your video on and nod in distracted response.

In contrast, I recently attended a concert on a metaverse event platform called ‘PartyNite‘ where Daler Mehndi recently bought a property (called ‘Balle Balle land’). I was given the opportunity to invite a friend and asked Arjun to join me. We were installed on the platform in less than two minutes, we selected our avatars, and then we were in the arena of the party.

The platform also allows you to chat with other participants, and you can actually create your own chat groups on the platform, as well as complete event missions, such as find Rare NFTs and other items. The level of engagement was really interesting. – and my date and I both agreed that this is what Mingout should have looked like.

Mingout moon date (Image source: Mingout Youtube video)

Mingout desperately needs declutteringas well as adding an in-app step-by-step tutorial where each option is explained a bit better.

Also, there’s too much information bombardment that happens when you select an activity – and maybe it’s the font or something to do with its overall design, but that’s just a lot of pointless reading when you really want to engage with a human being.

The iOS app was quite clunky and kept crashing frequently, but these are probably just initial bugs that can be fixed.

Where the app decides to leave you to your own devices is when you finally start an activity with someone. For example, when I was playing truth or dare with a woman I corresponded with on the app, there were no prompts other than the first one when you “send invite”. A little help here would have been better.

Overall the app was not for me. It felt like a chore rather than a fun activity – but hopefully that will improve with future iterations.

Until then, Arjun and I are staying on Instagram – maybe one day we’ll try to go to the Moon again.

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

Lance B. Holton