The Stack of Sedition

Tinder’s use of a very familiar mental model – a stack of cards – is break through design work. Like a stack of cards it is a true thumb first expression of designing for mobile – first. The mental model – a stack of cards – encourages exploration and, though less efficient an interface at processing information than other mobile apps, it is addictive because the mental model is so strongly associated with the “just one more” of rifling through a physical deck of cards. The addictive quality of sorting cards to find just the right one is seditious for mobile design as it illustrates the limited amount of mental models that we have to work with as designers. Tinder’s cards fit the format of a mobile device and make the device feel more like an actual deck of cards in your hand. There are very few mobile apps that enhance the experience of the device to such an extent that the experience is “felt” in your hand. The challenge for designers is to design mobile applications where the model of interaction is enhanced by the format…and platform – and in turn enhance the experience of mobile.