Horrible User Stories Episode 02: No Smooches for Smoochr

I recently heard about Smoochr.com, which has the opening tagline:”Discover Black singles by complexion, hair type and more!” Smoochr has stirred up quite a bit of controversy because of its tagline and approach to finding the perfect mate.

I haven’t used a dating site before, so I don’t know what to expect. I’d imagine most dating sites have some similar attributes and features, but focus on a different demographic or niche interest. A user can create a profile to distill their unique personality with a few text areas and radio buttons. A user can search for your soulmate based on attributes you determine are important. Things like that.

Let’s explore Smoochr.com and imagine some of the User Stories that the Smoochr team may have created.

“A new user can select their hair type from a list that only has one option”

HairOur first user story takes place during the first interaction a new user has with the site, the Smoochr registration page. After a new user clicks the “Join” button from the home page they are presented with a dropdown. The first question is simply “Hair.” Ok let’s click on the dropdown. Huh, only one option? Sure I guess that makes sense.  Kind of odd, but I press on.  After attempting to answer other questions I realized that having only one option wasn’t the actual user story. The creators of the site had bad CSS that made each of the dropdown options white text on a white background.  I find it highly ironic that a site that lets you choose your next date based on complexion can’t get CSS colors correct.

“Character type will be ordered in the most misogynistic way possible”

CharacterNow this one is a mystery to me. The list is clearly not alphabetized. However, the first three options (Submissive, Loyal, Vixen) have a certain theme going on. No wonder the tech industry gets called misogynistic! Decisions like this are bad for everyone, Smoochr’s users, the industry, women, you name it. Someone had requirements to put these character traits in a certain order. I’d love to be a fly on the wall at that meeting and hear the justifications for the ordering.

“Users can read about safety tips to stay safe… j/k”

I do give credit to Smoochr. They believe in the safety of their users. Their guidelines are common sense and are a great way to keep their users safe in the complicated world of online dating. Let’s review their tips to improve safety in their community…SmoochrSafetyTips

Just kidding, the Smoochr’s Safety Tip page 404s. Well at least I know what type of stack they run on.


Lessons from Smoochr.com

Part of the Low Budget Code spirit is to learn from other projects so you don’t spend time and effort doing something that may not have the best outcome. The Smoochr team probably didn’t have these horrible user stories in mind, but it is the stories that their users are facing. Here are a few lessons to learn from Smoochr to make your next project a success.

  • Spend some time on QA (even if it’s just 5 minutes)
  • Run some of your ideas against your target audience before it hits the public
  • Users will determine your site’s values based on the content that is and isn’t their

Ever try to buy a soft drink from a gas pump? Have a suggestion for a Horrible User Story? Reach out to me on Twitter or leave a comment.