I’ve been trying to hunt down some research and credible resources that deal specifically with web design for women. I’m finding surprisingly little coverage on the topic. One of the few studies that I find referenced time and time again is the University of Glamorgan study conducted in 2005. A few key points from the findings:

  • 74% of sites were produced by a man or a predominantly male team while just 7% were designed by a female or female team.
  • 94% of websites were biased towards men and only 2% towards women.
  • In almost every case women preferred those sites designed by women and men showed a preference for those created by men.

There seems to be a pretty significant disconnect between the audience on the web and the design of most sites.

I’m writing about this because I’m thinking about redesigning the website for Dalia Koss Unique Jewelry. Since the target market for jewelry is obviously women, the look, function, and flow of the site should ideally appeal to women more than men. The current design is based on Shopify’s Tellus theme, one of a handful of themes available – if you notice all of them are designed by men. (I’ll review Shopify another day).

Maybe one of the reasons “web 2.0” design has become so popular is because it appeals to more women (thereby increasing overall audience). Rounded edges, soft neutral background colors, and other web 2.0 traits do seem more in line with what women prefer.

If anyone is interested, I’ll do a case study and try to share my design decisions as I redesign the aforementioned jewelry website. Any women reading this, please feel free to offer up suggestions. I want to stay conscious of women’s preferences but I also don’t want to stereotype or pigeonhole the design into a false set of “women prefer this” parameters. Are there any good resources out there that deal with web design specifically for women?