Innovation is increasingly playing a key role in today’s technology agenda. This is a result of the everchanging customer requirements necessitated by the changing lifestyles. As a result, the design of technology trends in the modern world is now being influenced by factors such as gender. Consequently, an increasing number of website designers are increasingly taking into consideration gender as one of the factors during development.
According to Bonami and Cyer (2005), men and women have different values, and they process information in different ways. In fact, women have different preferences from those of the men relating to the designing of websites and factors that point on the website safety and security. Although online shoppers hail from different parts of the world, little is going on to establish gender gap in the designing of the website with respect to duty, loyalty, the level of satisfaction and designing (Bonanni and Cyer, 2005).
Men and women have different attitudes towards the internet and online shopping. In the examination of gender related attitudes and activities on the internet, it is clear that women are less affected than men in the internet. They usually spend less time online and less likely to perform transactions online such as purchase of goods (Allen 2001, Garbarino and Strahilevitz 2004, Rodgers & Harris 2003). According to Allen (2001), the design of the website usually impacts the priority of the user, and this can lead to differing reactions between the genders.
Bonami and Cyer (2005) assert that women and men process system information differently; while men are more moderate in their buying approach the women pressure on their emotional attachment they usually take into consideration emotional benefits. Subsequently, women exhibit little interest in online shopping and e-commerce. Men manage personal goals while, women aim at people’s goals.
Bonami and Cyer (2005) propose two theories explaining this phenomenon: the selectivity interpretation theory and the item-specific versus the relational processing theory. The selectivity research hypothesis states that men are selective in processing their information, and rely on highly available cues while women assimilate all the information available to them before making a conclusion. With regards to online shopping, men make decisions quickly while; women take time gathering information on available products and those that are unique in the market.
Moreover, women need more interactive shopping experience, which is difficult to achieve on the web. Subsequently, websites dealing primarily with women’s accessories have had to adjust their designs in order to meet the needs of their clients. Nevertheless, websites marketing men’s items have also had to adjust their systems in order reach out to the broader markets. An example of a website that focuses on selling women’s accessories is hmarketingtowomenonline.typepad.com
Garbarino and Strahilevitz (2004) assert that women websites with images of other women on them will experience greater traffic from women readers because they pull their attention. The images need not be of the greatest faces. They also enjoy a free style as their brains show a holistic look while a man’s brain is in compartments. The women also desire bright colours rather than flat ones, primarily a site that uses a lot of bright colours in the bottom navigation area.
Furthermore, Rodgers and Harris (2003) affirm that informal communication will go a long way in capturing the attention of a woman. Such websites, therefore, should choose actual words in their content in order for women to feel as if they are conversing. In addition, women love changing fonts and ornamental curves as the curves are flattery to them. Information that is written in real handwriting is also eye catching to women (Sanchez-Franco 2006).
For the men, they choose relatively straight lines and their representation in the use of compartments. Good contrasts, completeness, as well as sensibility and cleanliness, will also go a long way in attracting a man. As such, the use of gimmicks, pop-ups and too much light on websites are likely to turn them off.
Simon (2001) on examination of the balance on website preference revealed that women had lower priority on websites than men in view of information richness, transmission power and communication interface. In addition, Bonanni and Cyer (2005) found out that there existed variations on information design, navigation and visual design of websites design between men and women. Out of the eleven designs studied using the t-test comparisons, five were different.
With regard to visual design, websites with bright colours attract women whereas men prefer the less flashy and more interactive ones (Bonanni and Cyer 2005).
Trust is of paramount importance during design of websites. However, this varies with gender as women are less likely to commit to a website than men. For instance, women are more hesitant to commit websites which offer online payment solutions transactions. Such websites require confidence, and women are reluctant to embrace them as they doubt the safety of their transactions over these websites. Men, on the other hand, attach less risk to these kinds of transactions compared to women.
Privacy policies also impede women from using online transactions. Despite the fact that studies are not there on this, Garbarino and Strahilevitz (2004) suggest that women perceive a higher level of risk than men in online purchasing.
Loyalty refers to visiting a website after visiting it for the first time; it also entails suggesting it to another user (Sanchez-Franco 2006). The design of a website thus should put loyalty into consideration as it plays a crucial role in marketing of a website. An effectively designed website will attract customers and will convince them to visit again another time.
Although a few studies have examined online content with regard to gender, there is evidence that women tend to be less satisfied than men upon visiting a website (Simon 2001). As a result, women differ with men on the level of trust for websites; with men being driven by the usefulness of the website. Women are also less loyal to business websites than men because they consider online purchasing to be risky (Garbarino and Strahilevitz 2004).
In conclusion, it is imperative, in website design, to evaluate the taste of different genders as they perceive information on websites differently. Women do not trust online shopping and e-commerce so websites designers should consider ways in which to encourage women to visit their websites. On visual design, bright colours should be designed for women-oriented websites and incorporate interactive segments for men-oriented ones. There are differences between men and women with regard to navigation design, information design, visual design and information content. Today’s designers, therefore, should consider these factors when designing websites in order to attract and maintain customers of their targeted gender.
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