Whoever wrote that article completely lost credibility for me with their opening statement
Muslima.com is the least technologically advanced of all the sites we reviewed.
Unless you're a software developer (and I am), you really can't understand the complexity that goes into building something like these sites. Out of the four, I've not used Qiran.com, but Muslima.com is head & shoulders above the others.
Further more, there was an entire section devoted to Half Our Deen? Seems like some preferential treatment is going on, and absolutely no mention of many different areas of the site which simply do not work
. My professional opinion is, it was developed by a bunch of people who have no clue what they're doing... and I'm not saying that to be cruel, but I have to call a spade, a spade.
Finally, the conclusions didn't have any proper research behind them... it was just possible conclusions and mild guess work. The experiment was only conducted for a week as well, that's hardly a reasonable sample of time when looking for a spouse.
Furthermore, it's my belief that, unless you're actually looking for a spouse yourself, you'll never understand the websites properly... what works and what doesn't, etc. There's a maxim known as "eating your own dog food" which basically means that you should try out your own product from the POV of the user to see if it works.
Let me give you an example...
Mr Baba Ali decides to check up on his site... so he logs in, and decides to search for prospective spouses. Yup, set the age range, anyone between 25-35... search... done! He's got his 200 results, that works pretty well, so he's happy
The thing is, Baba Ali isn't actually looking for a wife, he's already married, so he's not going to test everything out. Take me for example, when I want to search... I want to restrict to sisters living within the UK... uh oh, the option isn't there. In fact, there's no option other than age-range... how useless is that?? I can't specify height, ethnicity (to some it matters), religiousness, only sisters with hijab, etc.
Not only that, there's no way to order the results. HOD ranks everyone by personality matching, but that's not everything. I don't care if someone is a 100% match for me... if she lives in another country, or she doesn't wear hijab... it's not going to happen! So ultimately, the search is useless from a practical POV.
Let me give you another example. Mr Baba Ali opens up his site in Internet Explorer, sees it looks nice, and thinks "Yes, I like it"
But, a lot of people use Firefox & Google Chrome, and if you view the site in either of those, various other things start to break (Google Chrome had issues displaying messages, believe it or not). I'm on the move a lot, and like to browse via my iPhone... the site is completely broken in that... in fact, it's difficult to even log in because the 'lost my password' link appears right over the login form, so it's an art to enter your details without clicking the link accidentally.
Final example... Mr Baba Ali isn't actually looking for a spouse, so he's not going to be engaged in messaging other people. But, I am looking for a spouse, so I did message other people... and the messaging system is horrible. Yes, you can send a message to one another, but they aren't threaded (so if you want to see what was said in a previous message, you have to trawl through the inbox). They only permit short messages (which is quite frustrating if you're trying to talk about something detailed).
Of course, when these things are raised, what did HOD respond with? "We're only an introduction site, you should take the conversation offline..."
I'm sorry, but that's just stupid... people aren't willing to share their phone numbers with random strangers until they're confident first, and that requires discussion.
In short, I think this whole experiment is completely useless and comes to no real conclusion. You can't judge something until you've experienced properly the way it's meant to be experienced. And HOD is not very good.