Men like it fast, women like it good

In a recent usability survey, researchers from Southern Illinois University found that after ease of use, men prefer fast download speed to easy navigation. Women prefer ease of use, easy navigation, and accessibility. The researchers hypothesize that these different usability criteria are due to differences in how men and women use the web.

Details at “Usability Study: Men Need Speed – web usability criteria show gender differences.”

29 thoughts on “Men like it fast, women like it good

  1. Do you think this has any relationship to what Joe Clark goes on about, about the ‘extreme male brain’ and Google’s design ‘anti-decisions’?

  2. As an SIU alum (Class of ’80), I can tell you that men there like a lot of things fast, like beer service, and women there like a lot of things good, like their men. Present company excluded, natch. ;-)

  3. Here we go, another men are Mars, women are Venus piece of crap.

    I have a degree in psychology, as well as computer science. I can tell you that after white rats, college sophomores are the most heavily used lab animal, and that therefore most of these studies should be greeted with at least nominal skepticism about how much one can expand the findings to the broader population.

    What the article on the study neglects to mention is that the sampling size is too small, and the selection criteria too restricted to be able to extrapolate such conclusions as “Women use the web to form social interactions, men use the web to gather information.

    There are other reasons for the test statistics, not limited to the fact that men are conditioned to be “self sufficient” and eschew helpfulness, while women are conditioned to be more passive, and therefore more patient with getting service or results.

    The researchers violated every last bit of good scientific research techniques to make such a leap in their assessment of the results. I can only think they did so because the report’s most general finding, that web sites should be usable, is so accepted and mundane as to be useless.

  4. …What i find most interesting is that people are slagging on the fact that some lab ran a study that differentiates by gender, instead of discussing its implications.

    The other point I find interesting is that the tendency of hyper-male engineer types to make their interfaces bare, cryptic, and slightly ugly has been illuminated. Not that that isn’t topical or anything.

    In application I don’t see why we can’t have our cake and eat it too within the framework of the study results, at least on those projects where the UX folks are actually allowed to do their job (and don’t need to account for resource-hogging Flash video).

  5. I do agree with the Shelley’s point of view, commented above.

    By the way when will the statistics-worshipping era end? I’m really bored of it. Scientists, do some real science; statisticians do some real statistics.

  6. re: Shelley’s comment
    after white rats, college sophomores are the most heavily used lab animal
    Quite right.
    I would go much further than “nominal skepticism”. In the absence of information about the population sampled and the methodology, it’s safer to ignore the findings entirely. I appreciate the reportage, though.

  7. I came to post something similar to what Shelly said–these results are wholly unconvincing and I doubt they’re even statistically significant. Putting aside all of the flaws of this survey, I can’t help but feel that one could find some other demographic or personality trait that would be a better predictor of what a person would prefer from a web experience.

    If the researchers were setting out to find what these dimensions might be and doing actual research (not just surveys), instead of chasing after a flawed hypothesis, then I would be much more interested in what they find. Yes, it would be expensive, but it would also be useful.

  8. How is “easy navigation” not part of “ease of use”?
    How exactly is “accessibility” defined in this study?
    Seems pretty weak…

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