skip to content

Apply for a Free Custom Quote

 
 

Web Design News

Website Design and gender

A first-of-its-kind study conducted by experts at the University of Glamorgan has proved that men and women really are poles apart when it comes to what catches their eye on the internet.

The piece of research, into what aesthetically appeals to males and females when surfing the web, has found that websites which might appeal greatly to one sex are a total no-no with the other.

With the internet doubling its size every two to three months, it is now more important than ever for websites to catch the eye of their target market.

Gloria Moss, Research fellow at the University of Glamorgan Business School teamed up with statistician Rod Gunn and Krzysztof Kubacki to conduct the research to discover if businesses and organisations are making the most of their web presence to help them reach their particular target audiences.

"We started off by looking at the personal websites created by 60 university students, 30 male and 30 female, to discover whether there were any major design differences. We looked at factors such as language, visuals, and navigation - the differences were immediately apparent," explained Gloria Moss. "We compared the sites on 23 factors and differences emerged on just over half of these. This is a massive number".

Where visuals are concerned, males favour the use of straight lines (as opposed to rounded forms), few colours in the typeface and background, and formal typography. As for language, they favour the use of formal or expert language with few abbreviations and are more likely to promote themselves and their abilities heavily.

A selection of the University websites was then shown to a group of individuals of both sexes who had to rate their appeal on a scale. In almost every case women preferred those sites designed by women and men showed a preference for those created by men.

"The statistics are complicated, but there is no doubt about the strength of men and women's preference for sites produced by people of their own sex," said statistician and co-researcher Dr Rod Gunn.

The research team applied these findings to measure the aesthetic values in the websites of 32 Higher Education Institutions.

"We were particularly interested in the education sector because its target audience is almost equally balanced between the sexes. In fact the proportion of females in the student body has settled at slightly more than half in recent years," said Gloria.

Despite the parity of target audience, the results found that 94% of the sites displayed a masculine orientation with just 2% displaying a typically female bias.

Interestingly the University of Glamorgan's own website, which was not included in the study, was found to be one of the most equally balanced in terms of visual design.

Further research found that the majority of sites, 74%, were produced by a man or a predominantly male team while just 7% were designed by a female or female team.

"What we have found is that organisations are not considering how they can tailor their websites to appeal to their entire target audience. If this is true for education institutions, then it is also very likely to be true for businesses who are not attaining their potential because their website isn't meeting the visual needs of their audience.

"If website flow is to be maximised, greater attention needs to be given to the production aesthetic used and the consequent appeal websites will have to their target markets. Given the strong tendency for each sex to prefer the output of its own sex, it does not make sense to attempt to appeal to women using an aesthetic which is largely male."

To throw more light on the study in a business context, the study moved on to a random selection of student websites from France and Poland. Differences between the male and female websites emerged that were similar to those emerging in the UK.

"This is an exciting finding," said Rod Gunn. "It shows that these differences cross national boundaries, and have implications for websites globally. Businesses definitely need to sit up and take notice."

A separate study on the beauty and angling websites was presented at the 'UK and US Academy of Marketing Conference', the world's most prestigious marketing conference.

Explained Gloria, "The beauty and angling industries have very polarised markets. You might expect the differing natures of these markets to produce different kinds of websites, but in fact our study shows that they are remarkably similar. They are both modelled on the male aesthetic."

While expectedly 77% of angling websites are designed by men, more surprisingly 78% of the female orientated beauty websites were also drawn up by men.

Continued Gloria, "The absence of a female web aesthetic in the beauty websites would make these sites less optimally effective than they could be. This is the first study to really tackle this issue in any depth and its findings could have a big influence on how businesses and organisations utilise their web space. It is no longer satisfactory to assume that an 'effective website' is perceived in the same way by all visitors."

The University is now offering a consultancy service to businesses seeking advice on tailoring their websites to their business goals.


Share

Recent Web Design News Articles


News Archive
New Toucan Design Blog

We are just installing a new blog to plug into our website, the blog will include free snippets of code that we have developed as well as feedback and generla ramblings.

Toucan Web Design Blog


Google spoiling Christmas?

Is Google spoiling Christmas? We think so, check out our article to see why our Xmas surprises may no longer be a surprise.


High Quality SEO Campaign

We have a few limited places, maximum 5 people to join our ultra high quality link building and SEO campaign.


Search Engine Updates

Penguins and Pandas??
After the recent changes to Google's search engine algorithm, Toucan Web Design are pleased to announce our search engine optimisation program is still returning good results.


Office Move

Toucan Web Design Limited are moving offices on Monday 24th September 2012.


Speed up your iPhone iPad or iPod

Is your device running slow? use the following tips to get your iPhone, iPad or iPod running faster, cleaner and more efficiently wihout having to restore or lose any valuable data.


Toucan Video Tutorials

New features for all of our web hosting customers, learn how to get the most out of your hosting.


Xmas 2011 Opening Hours

Our offices will be shut from Friday 23rd December 2011 and will reopen on Tuesday 3rd January 2012


Mondays SEO tip

Some great tips to help you grow your Google rankings, today its images


New web hosting

Toucan Web Design Limited is now on our new web server.


Back up your website with cPanel

Instructions to back up your website files, database and email filters and forwarders configuration through the cPanel control panel


Office Move

Toucan are moving offices today, although our servers and websites will be available throughout the move, our telephone lines and internet may be down for a while


Rightmove? latemove more like

New TV adverts to promote rightmove\'s unique map house search? Move aside we developed that technology 5 years ago www.propertysell.co.uk


Christmas Web Design

Dont ignore the obvious, 3 months till christmas we advise our customers to make sure they are prepared for the 2011 Ecommerce Web Design Xmas rush


The Lost Group

Toucan Web Design are pleased to have completed their new website for Black Book in Sweden.


Latest Web Development

Toucan Web Design Limited are pleased to have finished work on a small internal deveopment for a chain of bakeries.


Bargate Rovers

Toucan Web Design are proud to be sponsoring Bargate Rovers Footbal Club this year, good luck to the team.


Latest Google Merchant Updates

Google have got some major changes coming to their shopping results, any ecommerce retailers are strongly advised to upgrade.


Moving Offices

Toucan Web Design Limited are moving offices 1st October 2011.


PHP Developer wanted

Toucan Web Design Limited are currently seeking a professional PHP developer to work from our offices in Belper, Derbyshire.
Applicants must have a minimum 2 years experience in developing within a PHP/MYSQL web development environment.


New CRM Software

We are developing new CRM Software to plug in with our timing and work management suite at Toucan Web Design


Graphic Designer Wanted

Vacancy Filled


Google Base Changes

Latest changes to Google Base


Twitter and Facebook

Keep in touch with us on Facebook and Twitter


Web Manager Wanted

Toucan Web Design Limited are currently looking for a web manager.


New Server software

We have completed updating our server software.


Web Server Outages

Toucan Web Design Limited have recently been the victim of a malicious cyber attack on our web servers.
We are working closely with our server team to ensure that our services are continually monitored and disruption is kept to a minimum.


Ecommerce trading internationally

Are you selling online and thinking of expanding to the worldwide marketplace?

http://www.toucanwebdesign.com/news/Ecommerce-trading-internationally/24.html


Toucan Web Design Tip of the Week

For all UK customers who are using Orange mobile phone services, you can now get even more coverage after the share with Tmobile transmitters.


Social media Integration

Toucan Web Design is now offering complete social media web integration


Blogs become new advertising medium

Web Logs becoming advertising force


Traffic domain name sold

Navteq Pays $179m For Traffic.com


Microsoft release .net framework v3

Microsoft Releases Vista-tied .NET Framework 3.0


Microsoft changes Vista Licence

Microsoft changes Vista licence agreement


Bosnia software figures disgust

Almost 70 percent of Bosnian software fake: report


Zango adware tactics foiled

Zango fined $3m for illegal adware installations


Web Application Security Testing

Cenzic Offers Enterprise-Scale Web App Security Testing


Microsoft and Zend join

Microsoft forges ties with open source maker Zend


Government and online gambling

Government to regulate online gaming after US Ban


Google algorithm challenged

In court Google case to defend the secrecy of their ranking system


Internet TV

Companies have broad aims for TV on the web


Windows Vista running late?

Will Windows Vista ship on time?


British Library goes Digital

British Library predicts 'switch to digital by 2020'


Success of online dating

Internet dating is much more successful than previously thought, study shows


British Film Institute online

The British Film Institute brings together its comprehensive collection of film and British television data into a new Web site


Accountants software firm launched

TWD Expand business with new Sage developers licence


Fame TV you control

Fame TV Turns Couch Potatoes into National Stars within 15 Minutes


Website Design and gender

Key Website Research Highlights Gender Bias


TWD Relaunches Internet news page

Toucan Web Design UK relaunch their web design news after rebranding


Google now giving personal searches

Top search engine now offers you the chance for your own custom search engine on your website.