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There's a question on Quora asking for opinions about subjects' gender impact on usability tests. I think this topic is very interesting given that people of different genders prefer different visual designs. Thus, I would like to know whether there is any studies or at least anecdotal evidence comparing reactions of men and women to interaction patterns or information architecture in "unisex" products.

I know there's a similar question on UX.SE but it was dealing with gender-specific design.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I like Ben's answer, but I also just wanted to add that you should also keep in mind that there is a difference between biological sex and the social construct of gender. Personally, I view "gender" not as a binary distinction, but as a spectrum or range of characteristics a human being may or may not have.

What this means for UX is that there are probably more than two ways of grouping people in terms of gender that would yield interesting demographic statistics that could be used towards more accurately targeting your particular design.

It might also be interesting to not only study the gender of the target audience, but also the gender of the designer. All the little subconscious decisions that the designer makes are most likely affected by the designer's gender as well.

Further reading:

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Could you summarize each of these articles? We're trying to prevent link rotting in the long term. –  dnbrv Feb 27 '12 at 23:37
    
You're totally right. Done and done! –  robmclarty Feb 27 '12 at 23:50

Men and women often have slightly different priorities. For example, men were found to prefer quick downloads more than women.

Studies have also shown men prefer different interaction methods than women, generally speaking I'd say there's certainly enough evidence to warrant investigating gender differences in ethnographic studies.

Men also focus on different things:
enter image description here

You know, like the Strike Zone.

Gender is also very easy to track on a survey and women are a powerful but largely ignored demographic in marketing, so paying attention to women's usability needs can give you a leg up. As a case study Pinterest became wildly successful among women, the Social Web's success seems to have been largely driven by women.

This isn't to say you should focus your design to market genders, but gender certainly can affect usability results and it can certainly be enlightening and helpful to compare your results between genders.

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Definitely. And naturally...

The latest research I know of, is a case study of online dating sites.

One of the findings of the study was that men and women look at dating sites differently.
Eg: men look, women read...

Take a look at the case study here (with pdf-download and Youtube link):
http://www.tobii.com/eye-tracking-research/global/library/cases/answerlab/

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