Interpreting the Female User: How Web Designers Conceptualise Development of Commercial WWW sites to Satisfy Specific Niche Markets

Interpreting the Female User: How Web Designers Conceptualise Development of Commercial WWW sites to Satisfy Specific Niche Markets

Noemi Maria Sadowska (Regents Business School, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-096-7.ch007
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Abstract

This chapter presents an investigation into the commercial WWW portal, “BEME. com,” as an example of gendered Web design targeting female users. It argues that Web designers need to be aware of processes implicated in such gendered outcomes. Thus, an analysis of the BEME.com design process is used to identify threats and opportunities in designing for female online users in order to formulate appropriate design guidelines. The chapter outlines several underlying factors that illuminate these processes, and their social, cultural, and political origins. It is argued that the prevalence and accessibility of WWW makes it a powerful vehicle of change both within design practice and in terms of gender structures more widely. It is in this context that the author seeks to contribute to the existing research by offering a feminist critique of Web design, arguing that Web designers have an opportunity and a responsibility to affect and effect changes to a gendered status quo.

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