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Can female users chance everything?

Is there reason for optimism for women in technology?” is a brief but interesting discussion of some changes in the “gender” of the technology industry. As the article points out, there are several recent changes that are or may lead to increases in the number of women working in technology—from angel investors and start-ups in Silicon Valley that promote gender equality to a large percentage (70%) of online purchases made by women. However, all is not blooming pink—the article cites a USA Today article that shows “just 11.7 per cent of computer science graduates were women in 2010-11.” So, all is not yet perfect. I agree with the article that we need to find ways to make computer science and also in tech fields more obvious and visible career options for girls.

I think one of the most interesting points is about female users. As 70% of the online purchasers, there is obviously a vast need to create technology specifically for this user group. The article touches on this point—“Female users are the unsung heroines behind the most engaging, fastest-growing and most valuable consumer internet and e-commerce companies.” Not designing for such a dominate group is ridiculous. One of the best ways to design for this group, beyond of course employing usability (see for instance Screen Space Episodes 10–12: User-Centered Design 101, Usability & Usability Testing 101, and Usability & Usability Testing 101 Part 2—Selecting Users) is to employ females as designers, coders, writers, researchers, and in other technology roles. Perhaps the financial advantages of employing females to design for females will force industry to find more ways to bring females into the technology fields. So, female users—especially female shoppers—may change the demographics of the technology industry.

What do you think?

Resources:

“Is there reason for optimism for women in technology?” Women in Technology. June 12, 2012. http://www.womenintechnology.co.uk/news/is-there-reason-for-optimism-for-women-in-technology–news-801382256

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