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Pyne is the Tinder of Social Polling: Leveraging Simple User Interface Design in a Competitive Market

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Designing a product – any product, whether that’s the next architectural masterpiece or the next Uber/Pandora/AirBnB for #whateveryourface – requires that one understand that simplicity trumps complexity. When the intention is for people to actually interact with your app regularly and frequently, you have to ensure that it’s easy to understand and simple to use. Oftentimes, though, this goal is lost amid the flurry of competition and the battle to provide more features (and more design elements), which inevitably (and ironically) will leave you with less user engagement. For Pyne, a new social polling app, simple design lays at the core of its user interface, and will likely lead to their success in a highly-competitive subset of the mobile app industry.

10009876_224212454445212_1700779160_nWe’ve covered several social polling apps on Tech Cocktail – from DC’s Yopine to Las Vegas’s imagoo – which speaks to the state of the space in which Pyne competes. The market for social polling, Q&A, and other similar apps is approaching saturation, and in the face of this, each new entry to the market struggles to keep users engaged and falls to the delusion that more features will bring more people. Pyne’s distinguishing trait is its focus on the user experience, opting for a simple user interface void of superfluous features.

“What sets us apart, really, is the user interface and just how simple it is to use,” said cofounder Tony Peccatiello. “A lot of social polling apps have a lot of different bells and whistles which dilute what they’re really trying to accomplish: ask and answer questions.”

Asking and answering questions on Pyne couldn’t be easier or get any more efficient. To ask a question, you merely write a question, add an image, determine whether it’s a yes/nor or multiple choice question, and set your target audience (from whom you want responses) – men, women, Facebook friends, or everyone in the Pyne community. On the answer end of the spectrum, Pyne utilizes a simple card-stack system: users can either respond to a question and be shown the poll results (with a breakdown between how men and women responded) where they have the option to comment, or simply skip ahead to the next question.

“We’ve spent a lot of time working on a clean interface. We wanted to make sure that people could answer questions quickly and easily.”

The simple design pays off. Despite my own personal abhorrence of such social polling apps (sorry, it’s just not my thing – ya know?), I immediately found myself answering my 14th or 15th question. And, despite the lunacy of a handful of the questions currently circulating on the app, the simplicity of tapping and swiping to provide my input (and learn about everyone else’s) made the overall experience actually fun. I really hate comparisons to rapid-growth startups, but: Pyne is the Tinder of social polling; it’s fun, addictive, and a meaningful(?) use of our time.

“We’ve been really focused on getting users exactly what they want – being sensitive with user feedback through tweets and emails – and making it the absolute best platform for social polling.”

And, I mean, if I can find joy out of it, imagine the potential for overall user engagement. Judging from the quickly familiar faces on the platform, Pyne still has a fairly small community. This has enabled the startup to mold Pyne to suit the demands of that userbase. Just yesterday, the company launched an updated version of their app, which improves on the current algorithm (providing users with better content/questions), allows users to save “liked” questions to their profile, as well seamlessly share poll results pages to friends/followers on Facebook, Twitter, text, or email. Hopefully, though, Pyne will continue to maintain their simple design, even as future updates come up; otherwise, they may likely find themselves with the complex failures.

You can download Pyne for iOS.

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About the Author

Ronald Barba is an associate writer and reporter for Tech Cocktail. Formerly a DC native, he's now based in New York City. He reports on the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, looking at startup communities like Boston, Chicago, D.C., and NYC. He's especially interested in venture capital, M&As, and tech/business trends. Aside from startups, Ronald is interested in philosophy, cognitive science, politics, social justice, pop culture, and all things geek. He reads Murakami and Barthes, and alternates binge watch sessions of 'Doctor Who' and 'The Mindy Project'. Got something to say? Then email me (ronald@tech.co). Follow me on Twitter: @RonaldPBarba. Subscribe to me on Facebook. Find me on Google.

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