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Guest Dot Kite

Can men design for women needs?

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Guest Dot Kite

Hello to all PDF members,


I would like to open a discussion about "Can men design for women needs?"

Do you think that men lack the ability to deal with women's issues?

Or men designers can create and drive succesful women products?


It should be nice to have the opinion of both sexes, male designers and female designers.



Enjoy . . .

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Guest Random Designer

I think you need to ask both "Can men design for women?" and "Can women design for men?", as both are interesting topics.


IMHO, with the right questions and user trials, yes, they can. It might be hard, but I don't see why it is impossible.


I like to think of it as the same kind of problem facing an able-bodied designers creating products for the disabled... Questions have to be asked, and the designer must gain as much insight into the user's point of view as possible, although total understanding is never going to be as good as with first-hand experience.


However, I also believe that sometimes products can gain something from a designer that is an 'outsider', as they may think laterally about a problem or emotion that is common-place to the user.


I would say it is easier for each sex to design for themselves, purely from a time-saving point of view with regards to research.

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Guest Dot Kite

Dear Random Designer,


I completely agree with you that designing a product for the other sex should be treated as designing for the disabled. But i want to go little bit further . . . I have the feeling that also if you ask things, do researches, trying to understand what the user needs are, is not so easy to FEEL what the user from the other sex needs!


And before i said if "Can men design for women needs?" because women usually have more complex way to buy a product! Except the functionality, the aesthetics, the price or whatever else, women most of times are coinvolging the emotions, the senses, and the whole experience that a product trasmist to them....


Therefore i think that women need something more! And Ofcourse a male designer can give it...but how easy you think it is?


Let's give an example. Most (almost all) cars are designed by male. Do you think that women really like the automotives? (Last years the situation becomes better with cars like SMART, new MINI...etc)


Best Regards

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Guest Random Designer

Hmm. I can't think of a straight answer to this. Some men can, some can't. It is hard to tell just how much designer:user understanding is needed.


"How much do I need to know about you before I can design an adequate product for you?"


This, I do not know. So I will also ask:


"What is needed to be understood?"




"Can men understand them?"




Well now, I wouldn't describe the needs of women as more complex than men. I think I'd describe them as different.


The emotional response to a product: Are men affected by the emotion of a product? Has anybody ever designed an emotional product for men? Well, I think they are. I think everyone is.


Every product that has been designed invokes an emotional response. But most products are designed by men, and thus have an innate masculinity that is so common, we don't notice it. I think it will show up when there are a greater majority of female designers, so we can compare female-for-female designs with male-for-female designs etc.


How deep are we going to go into the emotional attachment required by female users? Do they even know themselves this value? I don't think it is currently understood well enough to be able to quantify. When women know what they want, then we will be able to tell if men can deliver it.


IMHO, they can.


The car design phenomenon is interesting tho' :


I would say that most women aren't interested in cars for anything other than transportation, and as an extended 'handbag'. I would also say that women don't tend to go into car design because they are generally not into technical things. Now I would presume that car design, in the past, has been dominated by the importance of technical things - going faster, being more eficient, being quieter. Thus it is mostly men that design cars and, up until fairly recently, mostly men that have bought them. The circle has been self-fulfilling.


Well, now women have more spending power. Women have been buying practical, attractive, safe, and even 'cute' cars. And the designers have had to keep up. The technical things aren't the be-all and end-all of car design any more. As you say, "women want something more". The designers will get closer and closer to what women, and eventually women might start becoming more interested in designing cars for women.


I say that they will do this because it is easier for women to design for women, rather than go to all the trouble of explaining to men what they want, or for having the men find out.


For thousands of years men have been trying to find out what women want, without much success. Why should they start now? (hehe)


But it appears to be fairly easy for men to design atractive cars for women. And razers, and kitchen appliances... They have done it. These products are doing well. So I predict that it is easier than you think.


I hope some of that makes some sense! It is 01:38 here. I should go to bed now ;)

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