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I would like to create a form which includes gender selection. However, I don't like classic male/female dropdowns. I would like to improve look and feel as well as user experience in a smart way. What is the most decent and neat way of getting gender of users?

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Have a look at the Gender tag which have some guidance in already given answers. –  Benny Skogberg Nov 28 '12 at 7:36
    
In particular, the following question (and my answer to it) may help you, as the question is closely related and the answer still applies: ux.stackexchange.com/questions/25826/… –  dhmholley Nov 28 '12 at 10:36
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@Benny Skogberg I've already checked that tag. Thanks for reminding. My question was more to improve look and feel. –  huzeyfe Nov 29 '12 at 9:18
    
@dhmholley when I first googled this question I've visited the link that you sent. Thanks for your reply. –  huzeyfe Nov 29 '12 at 9:20
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2 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If I am interpreting your question correctly, this is not a simple matter of what controls to use, but rather what options to provide your users and how to allow for these options.

One must first ask if gender is a required field at all. But if it is, your best bet and one that has been occasionally adopted to much praise from the community, is also the simplest.

A plain text field. Or if you want to still keep the radio buttons for the most common choices, use radio buttons for male, female, and finally an additional option that enables a plain text field. This allows users to define gender for themselves, any other form of selection is going to alienate someone.

In order to keep your stats happy, do some flexible text matching to group users into male, female, and other groups. Just occasionally scan the groups to see if their are any incorrect categorisations, and adjust the algorithms accordingly.

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Thanks for your reply. Actually text field option could be a bit painful and not appropriate in my case. But I will keep in mind in different projects as it is a very interesting approach. –  huzeyfe Nov 29 '12 at 9:22
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Gender is an issue for more people than you would think that are either transgender or simply feel that asking for it is inappropriate. I would suggest that you include 3 options. Male, Female, Rather not say.

Then you didn't mention whether this was for a web form or a mobile form. For a website I would use radio buttons. For a mobile form I would use selector buttons

e.g. enter image description here

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I'd strongly suggest adding an option for "other" or "alternative" or "not listed" -- you want users to have a "correct" option to select. If they identify as something specific but you have not provided that as an option, "I would rather not say" is not a correct answer (and, worse, may be considered insulting -- if I don't consider myself male or female, clearly I would be so ashamed of myself I wouldn't want to say?) Always try to provide an appropriate option for your users. If you have to resort to a catch-all, don't use a non-answer option as a catch-all. –  PeterL Nov 28 '12 at 19:39
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