Some men like it black, some women like it pink : consumer implications of differences in male and female website design

Gloria-Anne MOSS

The World Wide Web doubles in size roughly every 2-3 months and dramatic claims are made about the effectiveness of Web-based commercial efforts. The centrality of non-price mechanisms of differentiation to the perception, enjoyment and ease of use felt using websites is acknowledged but the only statistically rigorous studies of factors such as form and content have been conducted within a universalist paradigm of aesthetics. This paper reports on an interactionist approach to web aesthetics involving an analysis of 60 male- and female-produced websites. The analysis reveals statistically significant differences between the male- and female-produced websites on 13 out of the 23 factors analysed. These differences span issues of navigation as well as linguistic and visual content. The paper argues that the appeal of websites can be maximised if they mirror the needs and interests of their target populations and that websites targeted at male or female dominated markets need to reflect the aesthetic diversity found in the male- and female-produced websites analysed here. It also presents information on the demographics of the IT profession, showing that there is a potential imbalance between the percentage of women involved online and those involved in the IT profession. This suggests that the male domination of the IT profession could be a barrier to the effective mirroring of female Website preferences.

Publication type: 
Scientific Article
Date de parution: 
Journal of Consumer Behaviour