Document Type


Publication Date

September 2016

Journal or Book Title

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting 2016




This work lays the foundation for creating gender neutral web design guidelines by determining the following: the gendering of web design element examples (including whether some examples are distinctly masculine or feminine), the perceived professionalism of design elements, and whether there is an interaction between gender and professionalism. Designing for a particular gender is common in both product and web design, but in many situations is exclusionary. In the study, participants rated a series of graphical element examples in six categories: Font, Color, Image, Shape, Texture and Mixed Elements. Participants rated each element on their femininity, masculinity and professionalism. Some element examples were found to be strongly feminine or masculine, while others were neutral. In three of the six elements (Color, Shape, Mixed Elements), there was a positive correlation between professionalism and masculinity. Similarly, in the same three elements, there was a negative correlation between professionalism and femininity. This information will aid designers in making principled decisions on how they wish the gender of their website to be perceived.


Copyright Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2016. Posted with permission.