OkCupid is still one of the most popular online dating platforms, despite competition from niche sites like Christian Mingle and the always-growing eHarmony. Its large user-base makes it easy to find potential matches immediately after signing up, despite its somewhat complicated registration process.
After you register for an account, OKCupid asks a plethora of questions to try and get an idea of how compatible you are with other users on the site. The signup process and questionnaire took about an hour to complete. Each question they ask is immediately followed by asking how important the trait or quality is to you in a relationship, which towards the end of the question set becomes increasingly difficult to answer.
At the end of the survey, OKCupid gives you a breakdown of what kind of personality it thinks you have and how well you’ll match other OKCupid users. If you get difficulties about logging in to OkCupid check our realted article.
The OkCupid interface is built primarily around highlighting the content and control offered by the column on the left side of the screen. After you log-in the ‘Matches’ tab lets you input criteria into a custom search box to search the site for potential matches. Beneath that are a ‘Messages’ and ‘Visitors’ tab that let you send private messages to other users (it’s possible to get notified via email whenever a message is delivered to your inbox) and see which other OkCupid users have looked at your profile in the past few days. This is helpful if you think someone who looked at your profile may be interested in connecting later on.
Your OkCupid profile comes with all of the content you’d expect to see in a dating profile like age, sex, interests, and photos of yourself. You fill out the profile through another lengthy questionnaire that allows you upload photos and answer questions to help the service fill in your profile for you. It asks questions like, “My ideal dinner date is…” By default, you’re required to enter the basics into your profile, but customizability is unlimited in terms of what you can include.
All of this information is compiled into the OkCupid algorithm to determine ideal ‘matches.’ If a potential suitor doesn’t fit into the match category, OkCupid will tell you if you’d make good friends, or even enemies, before you send them a private message. Matches are displayed as percentage likelihoods that you and another person would be compatible.
OkCupid also uses push notifications to your user dashboard to notify you if it’s not a good idea to message one of the other users on the site. By monitoring dating habits and profile information, OkCupid is able to make recommendations about potential dates that may go poorly.
After OkCupid finds someone it thinks would make a good match, two custom tabs appear at the top of the site on your user dashboard. “Personality” and “The Two of Us” tabs appear above your user profile and help you dig deeper into another user’s profile to get an idea of shared interests beyond the basic profile information visible to everyone. It’s under these tabs that you also get to see why OkCupid thinks you’re a good match for each other, including displaying answers to some of the more private questions that were asked during the initial signup process.
OkCupid also broadly categorizes people based on its assumptions about their personality in comparison to the entire OkCupid user-base with phrases like, “Less sex driven.”
The cornerstone of the OkCupid algorithm is the resulting percentage ratings that help users determine whether they’d be a good fit for each other. Unfortunately, this is also the part of the service that’s significantly lacking.
While OkCupid makes it immediately apparent when one of the profiles you’re viewing isn’t compatible with your lifestyle, when a match is finally found, OkCupid tends to “round off” scores. For instance, users who score a 65% on the compatibility index are shown the same “Personality” and “The Two of Us” tabs as someone who scores in the upper 80’s or 90’s on the compatibility scale, meaning OkCupid places equal emphasis on users who share a little bit in common and those who are incredibly similar.
This discrepancy makes it hard to decide who to message, as sending personalized messages on the site takes time and if the compatibility scores between the two users is only a meager 65%, a date may never even happen, largely wasting users’ time.
Also disappointing is how seemingly impossible it is to score a compatibility score above 85%. With a range of 0-100, one would assume that it would be possible to score above 90% when looking at other users’ profile. During testing, it was nearly impossible to find anyone with a score over about 80, with the average “compatible” profile scoring in the 70-75% range. While it’s still possible to message people in this range, it’s discouraging that OkCupid frames the personality matches in such broad terms that make it seem like a matches are unlikely from the get-go.
Overall, the free user experience on OkCupid is worthwhile. The large user-base of the site makes it easy to browse hundreds of local profiles to see if anyone may be a match. Registering a profile is easy, but completing the lengthy questionnaire may take some time and towards the end before login, you may find yourself hurriedly answering questions just to look through the local search function for potential suitors. The compatibility scores seem unnecessarily vague and may discourage other users from messaging you because the numbers are so low. Ultimately though, OkCupid has developed one of the largest dating pools in the world because of its versatility and customizability. Millions of users have been on successful first and second dates using the platform and compared to eHarmony’s expensive and sometimes unnecessary feature sets, OkCupid is a great entry level online dating platform.