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!

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

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