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

T listed here are great deal of apps available on the market now for young people searching for love: Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid, to call a few. Though their rationales vary—Tinder and Bumble are both concerning the swipe, but on Bumble, women result in the very first move, along with OkCupid it is possible to get a grip on just how much information you reveal up front—they all have one or more part of typical: Possible mates judge the other person considering appearance.

But Willow, a brand new software striking the App shop on Wednesday, is searching for a various approach. As opposed to swiping left or right in line with the first selfie the thing is that, you’re prompted to respond to a couple 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; in the beginning, the answers to those questions are dates that are future.

The app’s creator Michael Bruch states Willow sets the “social” back social networking. Bruch, now 24, had been fresh out of ny University as he established the software a year ago. He states he had been seeking to fill a void he noticed when utilizing apps that are dating centered on swipes in the place of everything you like.

“You can match with a lot of individuals that you think are good searching however you don’t really understand much about them until such time you begin speaking with them, ” Bruch informs TIME. “If I’m going to invest time with some body I would like to understand me. That individuals have actually something to talk about–that’s what’s crucial to”

Bruch is hoping that same desire for discussion is very important to numerous other young adults too. To date, Willow has gained some traction. Over 100,000 users downloaded the beta form of the application that launched in August, giving on average three communications every single day.

What’s more, folks are deploying it for over simply finding love. “It’s be a little more about social development than strictly dating, ” Bruch says. “If you need to access it an have actually a casual discussion about game titles you are able to, and you may additionally put it to use to spark up an intimate conversation with someone that is not as much as 30 kilometers away. ”

The form of the application released Wednesday also contains a “Discover” feature that will help users search what’s trending and better examine concerns they’d be enthusiastic about responding to.

It’s an approach that is interesting 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. And it’s much easier to make somebody down based on simply their face in place of when you’ve started up a discussion. To observe 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 users had been more likely to answer very first communications throughout that point, nevertheless the moment the pictures had been turned straight right back on, conversations ended–like they’d “turned in the bright lights during the club at midnight, ” wrote one Chris Rudder, among the site’s founders.

Despite the fact that significantly depressing outcome, some millennials have found that the stress of placing see your face available to you for the public to guage may be intimidating—and in certain circumstances, dangerous. Just one single glimpse at the jerky messages published into the Instagram account Bye Felipe (which aggregates negative communications women have online) provides an excellent feeling of exactly exactly how discouraging it could be for many individuals, but specially for females, wanting to navigate for the reason that artistic room. Individuals may be aggressive, fetishizing, and downright cruel.

Apps like Bumble look for to assist females circumvent that by placing the energy of striking up discussion in solely within their fingers. But Willow really wants to replace the focus completely, through the means somebody appears as to the their passions are. “If your image just isn’t being blasted on the market, the total amount of harassment and communications you’re going to get from the break will be reduced, ” Bruch claims.

On its area, the app’s mission sounds just like a cheesy line from the rom-com: a hapless sap whining that they want some body would take curiosity about their ideas rather than their appearance. But, Bruch and Willow’s other founders are hoping it’s carved a spot on the list of array apps that focus on the millennial life that is generation’s.