Monday, August 22, 2005

Dotty Designs 

Did you know that women prefer sites that are designed by women? Or that men prefer sites designed by men?, a blog about women and technology, directed me to a CNN article about British research into gender differences and Web design.

Women seemed to like pages with more color in the background and typeface. Women also favored informal rather than posed pictures.

Men responded better to dark colors and straight, horizontal lines across a page. They also were more pleased by a three-dimensional look and images of "self-propelling" rather than stationary objects.
'Study: Web site's appearance matters', CNN, 11 August 2005.

What are 'self-propelling' objects? Cars? Horses? UFOs? My male visitors will have to be happy with horizontal lines and a dark background. I wonder whether the research will cause a greater demand for women designers. But not dark-background, horizontal-line, self-propelled kind of female Web designer.

In a different study by the same researchers, which looked at angling and beauty Web sites, they found that the majority of design teams consisted predominantly of men, regardless of the market.

Explained Gloria [Moss, Research fellow at the University of Glamorgan Business School], "The beauty and angling industries have very polarised markets. You might expect the differing natures of these markets to produce different kinds of websites, but in fact our study shows that they are remarkably similar. They are both modelled on the male aesthetic."
'Key Website Research Highlights Gender Bias' (University of Glamorgan press release, 17 August 2005.

Yibbida, yibbidah. Here's a few associations you don't want to make (other than beauty and fishing):

  • Moisturiser and horizontal lines.

  • Tampons and self-propelling objects.

  • New fashion knits and formal photography.

There's a purple 'dotted' border surrounding this paragraph. Did you know that purple dots are shown in Internet Explorer but that purple squares are shown in Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox and Opera? Gender bias, for sure!

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