Men vs. Women: Website Optimization Usability Study
A recent study on usability found that men prefer fast download speed to easy navigation. Women prefer ease of use, easy navigation, and accessibility.
In a survey of 301 undergraduates on the importance of different web usability criteria, researchers from Southern Illinois University found that after ease of use, men prefer fast download speed over easy navigation while women prefer ease of use, easy navigation, and accessibility.
Both genders seemed to agree that ease of use is the most important factor in assessing website usability. It is in the second-most important factor that gender differences come into play. Men prefer fast download speeds second, while women prefer easy navigation. Customization was found to be the least important factor in web usability , consistent with a previous design factors research.
The researchers hypothesize that these gender differences are due to the fact that women use the Web to develop relationships while men use the Web for information gathering. Fast download speeds make searching for information online more efficient.
Among all respondents, ease of use was found to be the most important factor in evaluating website usability. Intuitive navigation was second, while accessibility came in third. Download speed came in fourth and customization/personalization came in last. Customization was less than half as important as ease of use in evaluating website usability.
The findings of this study suggest that the most important factor in web design is ease of use. While intuitive navigation is certainly important, designers should consider the demographics of their user base. Females prefer easy navigation and accessibility, while males prefer faster download speeds and easy navigation. Customization and personalization were found to be the least important factors in evaluating website usability. The five criteria in this study explained 65 percent of the variation in the respondents assessment of website usability.