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Optimising Web Site Design In Europe: Gender Implications From An Interactionist Perspective

International Journal of Applied Marketing (ISSN: 1742-2612) Volume 2 Issue 1

G Moss
University of Glamorgan
Business School

Dr. R Gunn
University of Glamorgan
Business School

K Kubacki
University of Wales, Aberystwyth
School of Management and Business

Abstract

Purpose

The World Wide Web grows currently at a rate of 20% per year and dramatic claims are made about the effectiveness of web-based commercial efforts. The centrality of non price mechanisms of differentiation to the perception, enjoyment and ease of use felt using websites is acknowledged but the only statistically rigorous studies of language, form and content have been conducted within a universalist paradigm. This paper reports on an interactionist approach to web aesthetics involving an analysis and comparison of the features contained in a websites created by male and female students across three European countries, the UK, France and Poland, countries at different stages of internet development, to measure the strength of difference between male and female website aesthetics.

Methodology

24 features were analysed in a sample of 180 websites consisting of equal numbers of male and female-produced websites across the three countries. Chi-square analyses were used to identify significant differences.

Findings

A comparison of the ratings of the male and female-produced websites from the three countries produced statistically significant differences on 10 of the features across the three countries including visual, language and navigation issues.

Implications

The findings reported here show that the diversity found in the production aesthetic of male and female-produced sites in the UK is mirrored in the production aesthetic of websites produced in economically diverse countries. Earlier research showed a correlation between production and preference aesthetics and if these earlier findings are extrapolated here, then one could expect web production and preference aesthetics to be matched across Europe. This finding would have significant implications for marketing and would suggest that sites targeted at men and women should be produced in the male and female production aesthetic respectively.

Keywords: Websites, Aesthetics, Design, Gender segmentation

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