Happn - Day 1
But first, you have to sign up and create your profile.
Straight away, I cannot recommend this app to hermits or people who do not venture far from home. The app is far more suited to people who commute and are already social. Think of it as a bolster to an already active work or social life. Due to the fact that I work close to Birmingham, the app was pretty usable after a single commute.
As you can see above, there are two thing you can do with Happn once you pass by someone: Heart them or Cross them. If you Cross someone, the profile will disappear from your Happn front page completely. As far as I'm aware, they then will not reappear. Alternatively, you can Heart them, which will then register your interest with the Happn team. Or you can do nothing, you don't have to act straight away.
Therin lies my first problem with the service: much like Coffee Meets Bagel, you cannot contact anybody unless you BOTH Heart each other. I get why this is a popular method of thinning out your options, but it sure as hell makes it hard to evaluate the service.
I should explain, a Charm is a way to let another user know that you have already registered your interest in them, but using a Charm, you can give them that extra push to open a dialogue with you. Think of it as taking flowers to a date, I guess. It's an extra incentive. Of course, Charms have the value of absolutely nothing, can be redeemed in no way and do not affect your profile in the slightest... which is why Happn charges you for them.
The app has the generosity to load you with just over 10 credit to get you started, which I'd commend if the value of a Charm was consistent. I'm open to the idea that I encountered a glitch with my credits, but it would be a problem for anyone who parted with real life money for these credits if they behaved differently than advertised. I'd also commend it more if there was a way to earn free credits. Which there isn't. Happn doesn't take social integration into account, and would much rather you pony up the cash to get yourself noticed.
Anyway, I was playing about with the preferences today to see if I was able to increase my chances of a good pass. That's when I Happn'd (Eh? EH?!) on this setting.
That and the preferences here are very bare and stripped back. Gender, age, done. It's not even possible for me to look for anyone who frequents the places I do, so with like a pass history function, or a 'Most passed location' feature. Stuff like this would improve the app so much. You could find places where you are more likely to pass with people, or see if that pass was just a one-off or if two users could genuinely meet through a shared love of one location. Instead that kind of potential is squandered to make the app more streamline and simplistic. To confirm any of this date, you just have to, well, Happn on it (EH, GUYS?! EH?!).
At least in my case though, this hasn't led to any interactions beyond sending out random Charms. This app suffers from the same problem that Coffee Meets Bagel and Tinder had before it: You cannot open any kind of communication channel with anyone until it is mutually agreed that you can do so by both parties. Like I said, I understand why, but it does make even a 'hello' withheld behind an act of consent, which seems all too backward in the modern age of super-fast dating.
So, what do I think of it all?
That being said, my final criticism lies with the lack of a fully kitted out preferences menu. I left a lot of people on my Happn list un-interacted and deleted some because they were totally not what I was looking for. You can try and counter-act this by only going to places that you would like to have a common interest in people with, but the proximity service is fairly inaccurate. That and it is possible to get passes from people driving past your house. Living near a motorway has mean that I get passes just by going to the bog.
Happn feels fairly underdeveloped right now, but time may change it as the service grows. If more people knew about the app, I'd hazard a guess that it may improve and see new features added. But only time will tell. Who know what could Happn? (GUYS. GUYS, SERIOUSLY, THIS PUN, GUYS!)