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Gender Implications in Web Development/HCL Essay

There are many women just as men who use internet on the web pages. The number of users from both genders continues to increase and this leads to a size doubling of the World Wide Web every two to three months. However, despite the fact that both female and male users are many, there are fewer women compared to men in the IT professions dealing with web design and development. Objectives • To identify factors of web-design that appeal to men and those that appeal to women

• To evaluate how the factors affect the usage of web across the two gender groups Background Internet usage is growing for both commercial and personal purposes. In website-development for commercial purposes, appeal is important because substantial studies show that visitors stay longer on the web site they are visiting if they perceive it to be appealing (Moss, Gunn & Heller, 2006). The more the visitors stop and the longer they stay at a page the more likely the success of the web’s purpose will be achieved.

Research shows that customer preferences are varied and more so the difference is sharp between the male and female consumers segments. However, there are many men website-developers as compared to females and it is assumed that various web designs will thus be aligned to suit the male’s preference. Does this mean that female consumer preferences are sidelined in web designs and if so how does this affect the mushrooming e-commerce activities? Research Questions 1. What are the factors of web designs that are likely to appeal to women and how frequent do they occur in web designs?

2. How does the lack or presence of these factors affect on-line businesses? Literature Review Moss, Gunn & Heller, (2006) show the importance of women as consumers and web users. Moss, et al. , (2006) address previous study on web development in which demographics like age, social status, and geographic locations are factors identified to be most considered in web development. However, there is a growing interest on how gender-perceived factors influence the usage of web. Moss, et al.

, (2006) conducted an interactionist in which data from Cyber Dialogue data of 1998 was used to measure the number of male and female visitors attending to various sites like news, fitness, health and fashion. The study tries to evaluate factors that attract the customers to particular sites. This research will be based on the same methodology but on a more current date because internet innovations occur at a first rate. The study will compare the factors in the current female and male consumer segments by answering why each group prefers particular websites to others.

Proposed Methodology A rating system will be used in which respondents will be asked to rate different kinds of websites against a set of criteria that will be determined from Jakob Nielsen’s factors of an appealing website. The respondents will be required to indicate whether they are male and female. During the analysis stage, a chi-square test of association will be used to compare the rates achieved between the males and females. A quantitative rating system is a justified system for the study because individual preferences can be identified.

Jakob Nielsen (1989) a primary researcher of human computer interactions revealed usability issues that have the most impact on the hypertext interfaces and showed how some of them are related to individual differences as far as hypertext systems are concerned. References Moss, G. , Gunn, R. & Heller, J. (2006). “Some men like it black, some women like it pink: Consumer implications of differences in male and female website design,” Journal of Consumer Behavior, 5: 328-341. Nielsen, J. (1989). “The matters that really matter for hypertext usability,” Proceedings of Hypertext ’89, Pittsburgh, PA, ACM Press, 239-248

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