Thursday, August 25, 2005

Boys vs. Girls

Designers beware. Not only must we account for cross-browser design differences, now we must account for cross-gender design differences!

Websites created by men and women are different. So different, in fact, that women prefer Websites developed by women and men showed a preference for Websites developed by men, according to a first-of-its-kind-study published by a Business School in the U.K.

The study's co-author states that "businesses definitely need to sit up and take notice."

The implication is that Websites visited predominantly by one gender (women's beauty products, for example) may be less effective at attracting customers if developed by a person of the opposite gender.

The study evaluated Websites on 23 factors and significant differences were found on more than half of these factors when comparing male vs. female designers. Males, for example, favor the following design esthetics:

  • straight lines (as opposed to rounded forms)
  • few colors in the typeface and background
  • formal or expert language with few abbreviations
Conclusion: If you are an independent Web designer, you might want to obtain feedback from a designer of the opposite sex throughout the design process, especially if your client and/or client's primary target audience is of the opposite sex.