I’ve known about hi5 since I was in high school. At 2005, it was the biggest thing together with MySpace and Friendster. When you have all 3 accounts and all are glammed up and customised, that means you are one of the cool kids that have a computer and a lot of credits for a dial-up DSL connection at home. hi5 was fun—it was the Facebook of our generation.
Out of curiosity, I decided to see if my hi5 account 13 years ago was still working. Sadly, it wasn’t. So I just went ahead and created a new account. As soon as my registration was complete, I couldn’t believe my eyes! The design of the website was similar—I guess the developers no longer bothered to keep up with the new design trends—but the features were different. Before, hi5 used to have so many games features it was hard to keep up! Now they only have one called “Pets” and the mechanics are similar to the Tagged dating app. This must be due to the acquisition of the hi5 network by the company who developed Tagged.
Navigating through the website was an excruciating experience. At first, I didn’t see the point of the Pets game and I didn’t know if I needed to buy Pets or what. Turns out I didn’t and the only point was to increase your value which translates to popularity. I got to message some users and was surprised that chatting was free for everyone. Although I saw that the users were online, I received no reply. Probably because I had no profile photo uploaded (I didn’t bother). I also saw that there was a feature called Meet Me which was similar to Tinder’s matching scheme. I gave out a few likes but received none in return. Maybe again, this was because I had no profile photo. Oh well. With today’s wide selection of social networking and dating apps, hi5 has lost its edge and appeal. There are a lot of other apps that would provide a better experience.
Design and Usability
hi5’s website features a design that is immensely outdated. It seems like the developers and acquisitors did not bother to keep up with the changing times when it comes to web design. Navigation and usability of the website were not easy. The interface can be quite confusing as well, and there are not onscreen guidelines that can help you. Too many steps and buttons are needed to be clicked to successfully find what you are looking for. But once you get used to the dating site, you are able to experience the website’s features with minimal hardship.