Hookup potential: 3/5 Features: 4/5 Design: 3/5 Content: 3/5
- A legit dating site, with a wide membership base.
- The design is too compressed. There’s a lot going on within each page so there’s very little “white” space left. It’s hard on the eyes.
- Some functions are redundant and don’t work correctly.
The Full Story:
This site presents itself first and foremost as a browseable database of “available” people – a HUGE browseable database. And I think this represents the germ of my main problem with it.
It is always great for a dating website to have so many subscribers. It’s great for the site owners, and it’s great for us, the users. They get their income, while we get a lot of choices.
But the fact that there are so many results should not affect how the website is laid out. At Mate1, it seems like they’ve adopted the presentation strategy of cramming as many results as possible into just one page. A typical results page is a 6 X 5 grid of results. Meaning there are six people (with pictures) per row, and five rows for each page. The allotted space for the results is about 500 X 700 pixels, which is like, only half of a typical monitor screen.
Now, imagine being the user and going through each one of these results. You’d want to read up on the interesting-looking ones, right? The problem is that there isn’t much space allotted for each person in the results page–at least not enough to include information you might want, such as occupation or orientation. It gets tiring on the eyes. There’s just too much visual noise.
Most everything else about the site is decent. There’s the requisite flirting options for each profile–you can say “hi” or send a personal message to anyone you’d like. You can even chat if the member happens to be online. There’s no fuss about this. And not much by way of restriction either. There’s no need to be in someone’s “buddy” or “allow” list if you want to chat with her.
One funny thing about the site is that it beats you over head with the idea that you should be here to “search.” Why? Because three of the five main links on the top of each page are (redundantly) pointing to “Search.” There is Search (according to your parameters), Popular Search (according to popular parameters), and In Your Area (local search). Now, if anyone comes in here and complains about not knowing where to begin looking for dates, then maybe it’s poetic justice that he or she doesn’t get one. Duh!
I tried using the Advanced Search option where you can specify certain details, such as non-smokers only, spiritual persons etc. I also specified that the results should only include those that are at a maximum of 25 miles from where I am. I used the Search section on the left side of the screen. And lo and behold, I was given results that had women from other countries! Hello?!
I decided to attempt a little troubleshooting. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the Search section on the left? Maybe I should’ve used the one on top? (Yes, there is a search section right below the three main search links, and right next to the Search section on the left panel screen.) This search section was oddly not updated when I previously tweaked the search parameters.
So I searched again, and this time my search yielded more suitable results. Gone were all the out-of-the-country results (although some of the women on the list were still way beyond my specified radius).
Still, if one were to employ redundancy in a site layout, there should be a meaningful limit to it. It can get confusing to the user to have so many search options in one page. With Mate1, there’s about five Search links on every single page.
And, more importantly, the functionality of the whole website, especially the redundant features, should cohere with everything else. If I change my specification in one Search section, the others should update their values too. In the case here, I had to update each time I used a different site search option.
Oh well. I suppose this is the price you pay for having a deluge of choices. In the final analysis, the logical loopholes in this dating site are tolerable. A hot hook up is certainly possible, so it’s all good.