Meet Willow, the Dating App That Won’t Judge You By Your Appearance

T listed here are large amount of apps in the marketplace now for young people searching for love: Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid, to call a couple of. Though their rationales vary—Tinder and Bumble are both concerning the swipe, but on Bumble, women make the very first move, along with OkCupid you can easily get a grip on exactly how much information you reveal up front—they all have one or more part of typical: Possible mates judge each other considering appearance.

But Willow, an innovative new application striking the App shop on Wednesday, is looking for an approach that is different. As opposed to swiping left or right in line with the first selfie the thing is, you’re prompted to resolve a collection of three questions—written by users—that are created to spark up a discussion. What’s more, users decide when and in case they would like to share pictures along with other users; initially, the answers to these concerns are typical dates that are future.

The app’s creator Michael Bruch claims Willow sets the “social” back social media. Bruch, now 24, ended up being fresh away from ny University as he established the application year that is last. He states he had been trying to fill a void he noticed when working with dating apps that centered on swipes as opposed to that which you like.

“You can match with a lot of individuals until you start talking to them,” Bruch tells TIME that you think are good looking but you don’t really know much about them. “If I’m going to expend time with some body i do want to understand me. that people have actually one thing to talk about–that’s what’s crucial to”

Bruch is hoping that same curiosity about discussion is very important to numerous other young adults also.

Up to now, Willow has gained some traction. Over 100,000 users downloaded the beta form of the software that launched in August, delivering on average three messages per day.

What’s more, individuals are utilizing it for longer than simply finding love. “It’s be much more about social finding than strictly dating,” Bruch says. “If you need to access it an have actually a casual discussion about video gaming you can easily, and you will additionally put it to use to spark up an intimate discussion with someone that is not as much as 30 kilometers away.”

The form of the application released also includes a “Discover” feature that helps users search what’s trending and better sort through questions they’d be interested in answering wednesday.

It’s an appealing approach offered the sensed shallow nature of today’s millennials—the Me Generation, as TIME’s Joel Stein pronounced in 2013. Today’s dating apps appear to feed within their narcissists that are inner. Plus it’s much easier to make somebody down based on just their face as opposed to once you’ve started up a discussion. To see how users reacted to pages without pictures, OkCupid among the biggest online dating sites, hid profile pictures temporarily in January of 2013 dubbing it “Blind Date time.” They discovered that their people had been more likely to answer very first communications throughout that time, however the moment the photos had been turned right back on, conversations ended–like they’d “turned regarding the bright lights during the club at midnight,” wrote one Chris Rudder, among the site’s founders.

Some millennials are finding that the pressure of putting your face out there for the public to judge can be intimidating—and in some instances, dangerous despite that somewhat depressing result. Just one single glimpse in the jerky messages published to your Instagram account Bye Felipe (which aggregates negative communications ladies have online) provides a great feeling of exactly just just how aggravating it could be for many individuals, but specially for females, attempting to navigate for the reason that space that is visual. Individuals may be aggressive, fetishizing, and downright cruel.

Apps like Bumble look for to aid females circumvent that by placing the charged energy of striking up discussion in solely inside their arms.

But Willow desires to replace the focus totally, through the method somebody appears from what his / her passions are. “If your photo isn’t being blasted nowadays, the quantity of harassment and communications you’re likely to get from the break will be reduced,” Bruch claims.

The app’s mission sounds like a cheesy line from a rom-com: a hapless sap whining that they wish someone would take interest in their thoughts and not their looks on its surface. But, Bruch and Willow’s other founders are hoping it offers carved a location one of the wide variety apps that focus on the millennial life that is generation’s.