Redesign of key interactions to create a validating experience for OKCupid's genderqueer users

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Role & duration

UX Research & Design

200 hour Design Challenge







Contextual Inquiry

User Interviews


Paper Prototyping

Usability Testing


Explore how OKCupid could be more accommodating to genderqueer users, while adhering to current style guidelines and without alienating cisgender users.


  • At least 2 million Americans identify as neither male nor female.

  • OKCupid is consistently ranked among the top queer dating apps.

  • Genderqueer users believe OKCupid is their best option, but it’s not yet perfect.

Current conception of Gender as seperate from Sexual Orention and Sex Assigned at Birth


“I’m misgendered on dates all the time.”

Genderqueer Users want access to a large dating pool and the ability to choose non-binary gender identities.

Despite allowing users to choose from a list of 22 genders, OKCupid does not clearly communicate its users’ gender identity

OKCupid has an opportunity to build deeper loyalty among queer and gender non-conforming users by helping them clearly communicate their gender to prospective dates.

User Profile Card

Original Profie Card includes User's name, age and height.

The User Profile Card includes information such as a User's name, location, age, height and a "deal-breaker." Prospective dates would have to dig into the User's Full Profile to see their gender identity and pronouns

Genderqueer people date people who identify as cisgender. Cisgender and straight people are highly likely to assume the gender of other users who appear in their search results.

User Gender Selection Flow

Interactions in the User Gender Flow offer then quickly shatter the illusion of choice.


In the current Profile Flow, OKCupid requires all Users to choose to appear in searches for “Men or Women.”


This is a harmful and persistent occurrence for genderqueer people. 


Forcing genderqueer users to identify within the gender binary immediately after their gender selection destroys the illusion of choice

Required for users to identify as a “Men or Women.”

"pick one"

User Gender Selection Flow

Original User Profile Flow requires user to identify with a binary gender

Users select from a range of 10 Orientations and 22 Gender Identities to then be required to identify themselves as 1 of 2 genders


Validate user’s gender identity during selection and better communicate their identity to others.

Pronouns Displayed on User Profile Card

Display User Pronouns below User Name on Profile Card

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Genderqueer users feel seen and accepted when they interact with OKCupid’s profile interface.


If a user's gender identity is prioritized on their profile, potential dates won't have to assume the gender of other users.

Including personal pronouns under a user's name is an easy and effective way for people to express their gender and communicate how they like to be addressed.

Recommended User Gender Selection Flow


Omit sex-based filter selection

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Gender Selection Screen

  • Use singular adjectives on gender selection screen

  • Organize gender options alphabetically

  • Offer “Trans” and “Cis” as stand alone gender options

Proposed Gender Selecton Screen allows users to select multiple genders
OKC's original list of 22 genders

Suggested language to reflects gender is an adjective

"Transgenders" is widely recognized as harmful way to refer to people who are transgender. 


User Interviews

“I have to come out to everyone who messages me."

Thoughtful research revealed that genderqueer users overwhelmingly prefer OKCupid despite the frequency of gender-based rejection.

OKCupid allows users to date a wide range of genders. It is one of the few dating platforms that hosts a base of queer and heterosexual-identified users.

Gender non-conforming people have to do extra work to make sure that the people who date them are loving of their gender. 

Contextual Inquiry


Identified interactions where genderqueer users felt they were forced to identify within a gender binary or otherwise felt marginalized.


The illusion of choice is destroyed during key interactions in the profile user interface.

Prototype and Usability Testing

Validated design decisions to alter key screens and user flow for multiple user groups. This design works for the targeted genderqueer user group and works naturally for the unprioritized users.  


Redesign key screens and interactions to enable users to represent their gender and communicate their gender identity to other users.

Usability tests revealed that both Cisgender and Genderqueer users found the new flow intuitive and legible. All users were able to identify their own gender(s) within a short, alphabetical list.


Genderqueer users were delighted to quickly see other user’s pronouns.


Gender inclusive dating doesn't rely on a "one size fits all" approach to filtering potential matches.


As popular dating sites attract a diverse set of users, it becomes difficult to predict which characteristics are prioritized by all users. 

OKCupid empowers all of its users to search "tags" to create personalized filters. OKCupid offers the tools to for users to personalize their search criteria. Personalized filters can replace automatic filters that make harmful assumptions. OKCupid can continue to serve a wide user base and encourage respectful interactions.