Does gender matter when it comes to smart phone design? Some would say it does and as a woman, I’m not offended. Just like I wouldn’t buy a pair of boy pants, I also might want my smart phone to look a bit more feminine. Same goes for some of the applications I’m most likely to download. They target a distinctly female audience and some experts would say those not thinking about what women want are missing out on a huge market. Why NOT create an application for smart phones that only women might want to use? According to an article in today’s Globe and Mail, Samsung is predicting the smart phone market to grow to 500 million units in 2012–from 170 million in 2009. They say despite slowing economies and falling sales in the overall mobile phone market, sales of feature-jammed smart phones are growing. What else? It’s a fair to say that the vast majority of phones are designed by men and for men, yet
women are major consumers of mobile phones (the accepted industry stat is that women influence 89 per cent of consumer electronic purchases).
So why not add a nice colour to a Blackberry or build an application like Shopper, a program that runs shopping lists on the iPhone for the grocery stores Costco and Home Depot? As one Blackberry user says,
…women tend to buy phones that will adapt to them, not the other way around.
While some argue that this notion of catering smart phone features to women is offensive, (and that shopping applications are ridiculous), it undeniable that there is demand out there. And if you’re smart, you’re going to grab a piece of that pie before it’s all gobbled up.