Friday Feminine Gamification Viewpoint: Designing for the picky customer
Most guys will probably already be nodding their heads to the title and they are right, women tend to be a lot choosier then men when it comes to what they want from their products. Design research shows that when you can make a product (or service) that appeals to women, then you have a great chance that men will love it too.
To sort of prove the point in your own environment, ask a number of male and female friends what they look for in an every day product that both genders would use, for example computer, mobile phone, kitchen equipment etc. Typically what will happen is that most men will look for the technical functionality of the item, most women will mention that too, but then they have the and…list which may contain things like easy to use, intuitive, fits into handbag, not too heavy, good-looking, maybe even colours and feelings. Just do the test, don’t tell them why you are asking, just ask what do you look for when you are choosing a … (product).
Ladies in general are more demanding, they also hold 80% of the decision making power. When women were asked how much engineers of electronics products had them in mind in the design process, the answer was a staggeringly low 1%. So there is let’s say some room for improvement. That doesn’t mean some companies already get it right. For example Mini, the car manufacturers, the Mini car appeals to both men and women but for different reasons. Ironically women call it a feminine car and men call it masculine or gender neutral. The fact that the Mini is highly customisable makes it attractive to both.
The base choice point is that is a well constructed car and obviously does what a car needs to do, so primal needs for both genders are satisfied. Women call it fun, cute, charming and well made. Men find it sporty, fast with high performance and the stunt car image is a bonus too. What makes this product appeal to both genders is customisation as well as fit with lifestyle. This reminds me of a comment I made years back to a car nutty male friend of mine, he asked me what kind of car I would like and my answer was one that goes with my glasses, which was followed by stunned silence and a ‘You can’t be serious’ type of statement. Although I may have been pulling his leg a bit, there was an element of truth in it, colour did matter as well as car reliability and ease of use.
Most sports cars are not designed for ladies in skirts, even though to a man they may look super sexy, my experience in a Porsche was that I felt too low to the the ground, couldn’t get out of the thing at all gracefully or in for that matter and in general I didn’t feel safe in it. Saying that I have enjoyed watching Porsche and Classic Car races but more to appreciate beauty rather than something I would use for myself. My personal favourite car is Volkswagen Golf, because it feels sturdy, is reliable and performs well, and yes it comes in some colours I like too. 🙂
Anyway, back to gamification take-aways from the car manufacturers scenario, top tips:
- Make your system/process customisable by gender
- Make sure the base functionality works
- Look at lifestyle choices and where your service fits it with this
- Ask for the subtle values and long lists of requirements from your pickiest customers (probably ladies)