Designing for Gendered Audiences with Jessica Ivins

June 3, 2015

Designing for Gendered Audiences

Time magazine recently proclaimed that the transgender movement is “the next civil rights frontier.” If you’re unsure of what it means to be transgender, you’re not alone.

As designers, we rarely consider gender in our design process. Yet gender profoundly influences our customers’ behaviors. Gender influences the way our customers present themselves to the world. Gender determines how customers choose to interact—or not interact—with our products. We make design decisions for customers whose gender identity affects their lives, every day, both offline and online.

A new civil rights movement is teaching us that gender identity goes beyond the conventional definition of male or female. As designers, what do we need to understand about gender identity? How do we design experiences that are inclusive for everyone, like people who are transgender or gender fluid? How do we know when gender matters and when it doesn’t matter?

We’ll explore gender identity and why an understanding of gender identity will help us make effective designs even stronger. We’ll focus on the “gender question”—form fields that ask users to indicate their gender. We’ll determine how to ask this question in a world where gender is more than the male/female binary.

About Jessica

Jessica is a User Experience (UX) designer and educator who volunteers much of her time to the UX community. She’s a faculty member at Center Centre, the UX design school in Chattanooga, TN, that prepares students to be industry-ready junior UX designers.

Jessica has spoken internationally at conferences like SXSW, Midwest UX, IA Summit, UX Camp Ottawa, and UX Cambridge (UK). She taught classes for Girl Develop It Philadelphia, led UX Book Club Philadelphia, and served on the board of PhillyCHI, Philadelphia’s UX community. Prior to joining Center Centre, she was a senior experience designer at Happy Cog and lead UX designer at AWeber.