I'm a little bit hesitant to use the word Sex in the design of my website, my other choice is to use Gender but based on this discussion it states that grammar-wise I need to use Sex for it refers specifically to either male or female.

My another choice is to just let the user choose whether they are male of female without indicating Sex or Gender just like this

enter image description here

What should I do if my users ranging from various races?

  • do you really need to get "the biological" condition? Jan 21 '16 at 1:20
  • i just want to know whether they are Male or Female because the names of some user seems female, but in reality they are male. So, just to make sure that I am correct in addressing them I think knowing male or female is enough? Not sure though. Jan 21 '16 at 1:23
  • In several countries it won't be enough. In my country a person who was born as male, can legally register as a Female changing his name. So in fact you can born as John (male) and then change your gender and name to Mary (female). So the name will be now a female name, the gender female and the sex male. Jan 21 '16 at 1:35
  • Oh no! I am so confused now. You have a point in that. I really don't know what to choose. Jan 21 '16 at 1:39
  • 1
    btw, why is it necessary to "address" them in a particular way depending on them being male or female? Jan 21 '16 at 1:41

In a comment you say you're asking for male/female simply so you can address them correctly. I interpret that to mean you're corresponding with them as "Dear Mr Lastname" or "Dear Ms Lastname."

So you could ask for that specific information. Here in the US we sometimes see registration forms asking users to choose "Mr" or "Ms" as a title, though these days you might need to include a neutral choice too, or give them an option to enter their own preferred title. (I came across this list of neutral titles.)

It also seems like you're asking what you should label that entry in your form. No label is necessary. Your mockup is perfectly fine: "Male or Female?"

  • Some are sticklers for using the title "Dr." regardless of gender.
    – WBT
    Dec 17 '19 at 16:27
  • Agreed. As I reread my answer I notice that it wasn't very clear. I assume the form doesn't really need to know the user's gender. Just let the user choose the title they want: Mr, Ms, Dr, Prof, Admiral, etc. Dec 17 '19 at 20:47

I have answered a similar question before. https://ux.stackexchange.com/a/85487/57766

If this data is crucial, and you have to ask, use "Gender". Biological sex is too sensitive as a subject and you might steer some of the TA away if you use it.

enter image description here


You are asking a question about sex/gender initially, so I'll answer that first.

To begin, what is the point of the data? How will you and your company use this data? For example, will it help identify what types of advertisements to display?

Anyhow, it's always good to start with understanding why you are doing something in the first place. This will help you frame your design intent, and come up with solutions for it.

In survey creation, typically you would ask the question like "Which gender do you identify with" giving the choices "male, female, other." This has been done in numerous academic studies and even seen on websites. It's a safe way to asking the question.

Next, if you are asking about race. Well, it really depends on how specific the data needs to be that you are trying to collect.

For example, you could use a drop-down menu, with something like:


◦ Hispanic or Latino

◦ Black or African American

• Native American or American Indian

◦ Asian / Pacific Islander

◦ Other

However, I'll explain how these (dropdowns) are problematic. The issue is that people may identify with different races. So it's best to use checkmarks giving the option for the person to select multiple races, like:

Please select your race(s)

☑ Caucasian

☑ Hispanic or Latino

☐ Black or African American

☐ Native American or American Indian

☐ Asian / Pacific Islander

☐ Other


A simple way is to give the user an option to insert what's more confortable for him, like:

( ) Male

( ) Female

( ) Other: [Text field] -- if selected, opens the field below:

-- How do you want to be called: [list to choose: Mr, Ms, 'no need for that', etc.]

What do you think about this? :)

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