Gender issues are a sensitive topic, but how heavily have you considered them when designing onscreen elements?
Image: Rhonda Oglesby
The Atlantic reports on research that Microsoft undertook many years ago relating to the nearly universally hated Clippy assistant. Amongst the feedback received from focus groups was that Clippy was “too male” and that (from the feedback of most of the women surveyed that he “kept leering at him”.
I must admit that I’ve never really thought about Clippy that way myself, but then I’m male, and as The Atlantic points out, Clippy’s design team was almost universally male, and willing to throw away the focus group work because, according to Roz Ho, who worked at Microsoft at the time, the results didn’t meet their expectations, and were thus dismissed.
There’s some obvious dangers in assuming the gender of user of any given software product, but interface design has to be one of the more unusual cases. What’s your take on UI design that caters towards all gender groups?
Even Early Focus Groups Hated Clippy [The Atlantic]