Tech & Work

Are women (and men) tech users swayed by aesthetics?

In a recent study by advertising firm Saatchi &amp; Saatchi, 750 British women between the ages of 24 and 45 were asked questions about their tech gadget preferences. Less than 10% of the respondents said that they wanted products that look feminine. Instead, they "seek something sleek and sophisticated, more boardroom than teenage bedroom." See the Wired news story: "<a href="http://www.wired.com/gadgets/miscellaneous/news/2007/09/ladygeek" title="Women want less pink and more tech" target="_blank">What Do Women Want? Less Pink, More Tech</a>."

In a recent study by advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi, 750 British women between the ages of 24 and 45 were asked questions about their tech gadget preferences. Less than 10% of the respondents said that they wanted products that look feminine. Instead, they "seek something sleek and sophisticated, more boardroom than teenage bedroom." See the Wired news story: "What Do Women Want? Less Pink, More Tech."

Here are a couple snippets from the article:

The "empowered" women, 37 percent of the total, owned an average of six devices, including a digital camera, desktop or laptop, multimedia mobile phone, MP3 player, digital TV and handheld game console. Overall, U.K. women own only slightly fewer tech items (11 percent) than men.

The study's authors, as well as other researchers, agree on the key to upgrading women tech users from cowed to confident: Simplify, simplify, simplify. "Demands on women's time tend to be greater," said Sydney-born Dr. Genevieve Bell, resident anthropologist at Intel. "If you wanted to design technology that would appeal to women, it needs to work flawlessly the first time out of the box and every time thereafter. They don't have time to faff around."

Regardless of your gender, are you swayed by aesthetics, or is your wallet/purse reserved for purely functional purchases? Personally, I'm not moved by color schemes (does this laptop skin match my eyes?), but I am a sucker for things that just plain look "cool." Whatever it is may not last as long as another one that's not as aesthetically pleasing, but I'm sure going to look good using it while it lasts!

About

Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.

5 comments
Sassy Sales Girl
Sassy Sales Girl

What do women want? Well I think that has a lot to do with the group of women you are speaking too. I have girl friends who get giddy over the idea of having a pink lap top and they are well past their teens. I meet with clients all day and and so for me I prefer a laptop thats fast,light weight,sleek and functional, key word...functional!. I work for a creative company that was built on a reputation of getting results. So although out in the field, practical is still the norm, in the office and at home, a little color is fun and inviting(especially since, yes, I am one of those girls that still likes to match...aheeem even if it means my i pod and shoes are color coordinated) And like you Sonja, yes, I m also a sucker for things that look "cool" and if it happens to match my outfit.....SCORE!

LockOutGirl
LockOutGirl

I also look for what features a particular gadget has first. Colors are all well and good, but I'm not going to sacrifice ease of use for a sparkly case. Point in case, I bought a cell phone that I now despise. I bought it because in the time I used it in the store, it seemed to have what I wanted and on top of that, the design was nice, with a great color screen. I've since reverted to my older phone because the new one is lacking many features I didn't realize weren't there. I let myself be led a bit too much by the sleek design and got frustrated when I couldn't use it like I wanted. Never letting that happen again. I think my split between form and function is about 90 - 10 in favor of function. I want it to work fast, well and reliably, but I'd also like it to not look like something from the stone age. Color does not matter much, given as how black or silver is my standard choice on most any gadet anyway, even if I have color choices. Not all women want pink, some of us don't even like the color!

iantrent
iantrent

My home pc is black, my keyboard is black, the monitor is black, and my mouse is guess... black. So yes. As for the whole iPod thing, I'll take a cheap usb MP3 player any day over your .99 cent per song, $100 device. But then I don't need to carry my music wherever I go either.

brian.mills
brian.mills

Aesthetics definitely play a role in high-tech items both my wife and I purchase, but that doesn't just go for how the outside of an object looks. It also goes for the intuitiveness of the interface. My wife would use a beige box running OS-X (if one existed) over the sleekest Windows Vista machine any day, but she's lucked out in that the iMac's enclosure is as aesthetically pleasing as its operating system. I wouldn't trade my iPod for any other music player currently on the market. Why? because it looks so dang cool and its the only one with enough storage for all my music. But the aesthetics were definitely a big part of choosing the iPod over any other music player, but if something cooler comes along, I may just have to drop the iPod for that. I may love the "cool factor" that goes along with certain tech, but if the interface is total crap, no amount of coolness can make up for that. I think that's why I have no current plans to upgrade to Vista. I'll hack away at Linux or replace my laptop with a Macbook when it's time to upgrade.

djc
djc

'Less than 10% of the respondents said that they wanted products that look feminine. Instead, they ?seek something sleek and sophisticated, more boardroom than teenage bedroom.' And Apples market share is - about 10%. Just goes to show that style over substance doesn't attract the majority, just those who are willing to pay over the odds for a designer label.

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