Three tips for gender considerate design

Through standards, associations, and interpretation of behavior of the target group, gender bias can influence a design project. Attention to this should be given from the beginning of a design process, to avoid accidental exclusion of women or men. By paying attention to associations, behaviour, and standards during the design process, it becomes easier to design gender and sex considerate.

Tip 1: Consider your own associations

As a designer it is useful to become aware of your own associations and biases, or even those of the design team. How might these associations affect judgement? By identifying them it might become possible to make informed decisions about how to treat them in the design process and avoid unintentional exclusion. Try to reflect and discuss with your project group on which first associations and ideas you might have of the target group and context. Is your group likely to have a similar view and similar experiences related to the project as you? Try to become aware of your blind spots and think of a strategy on how to overcome them.

Tip 2: Consider the context of the target group

To get more understanding of a person’s behaviour it is advisable to get a more in-dept insight in the user’s sociocultural context. How might these influences affect the users believes, expectations and, eventually, their behaviour? Through interviews, observations, role play, personas, culuras etc. the context of the user, their social roles and expectations can be explored. This provides a better understanding of the target group and helps to more accurately understand and predict their behaviour.

Tip 3: Be critical of standards

When using standards, it is wise to identify who the standards are designed for. Who does this standard exclude within the user group, and in which way? There might be a different model of standards that is more applicable to the target group, or it might be necessary to create new standards for the project. For size standards you can use DINED, an anthropometric database made for the by the TU Delft. You can also use your own research insights to create new standards for your project.

💼 Project by Maartje van Proosdij
🌎 Website by Oscar Verbeek