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Gender Differences in the Navigation of Electronic Worlds

Gender Differences in the Navigation of Electronic Worlds
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Author(s): Sharon McDonald (University of Sunderland, UK) and Lynne Humphries (University of Sunderland, UK)
Copyright: 2006
Pages: 6
Source title: Encyclopedia of Gender and Information Technology
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Eileen M. Trauth (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-815-4.ch089

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Abstract

Recent developments in visualization techniques coupled with the widespread use of complex graphical interfaces, frequently designed to meet the needs of a perceived homogenous set of ideal users, have served to highlight the gap between what an interface demands of its user and the user’s actual capabilities (Hindmarch & McDonald, 2006). Consequently, if we are to be able to develop more usable interfaces, then a consideration of individual differences in interaction becomes increasingly important. The most fundamental individual difference of all is that of gender, yet surprisingly it is often the most overlooked. In this article, it is argued that if we are to develop more usable interfaces then individual differences such as gender are not factors that may be considered in the design process, but factors that must be considered. The issue of navigation in virtual and information spaces will be used as a vehicle for this discussion.

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