Designing mobile devices for women’s needs
Guidelines for Female Customer Groups
As part of the Woman’s Phone project we identified general demands, personal habits, and debunk myths of what women expect from their mobile phones.
An online survey among 130 women, in Germany and the UK, revealed great observations and many misconceptions. With additional design probes, external surveys and quantitative studies, we formulated a series of recommendations for designing mobile devices and services for women.
These key issues were collected in a set of recommendation cards to be distributed within Deutsche Telekom, to allow decision makers to take informed steps when developing and launching new mobile devices.
A selection of insights:
“I have no problems with buying a ready-made mobile right off the rack.”
For many women, mobile phones are simply viewed as tools, which should be simple, practical and affordable.
“Sometimes I send my closest friends a text message just to let them know that I am
thinking about them.”
Women use mobile phones to keep in touch with family and friends on a regular basis, and they often use messaging services for doing so.
“The most important thing is that my mobile is easy to use.”
Uncomplicated and self-explanatory usability is desirable to many women.
What is especially important?
Numerous Functions: 1%
“I am not interested, for instance, in whether my phone has 8 gigabytes of memory or some huge amount of megapixels. I just want to know what it can do and how much it costs!”
Women are interested in the functionality and utilization of mobile phones and not in any technical details.
“My dream-phone would have to be ecological.”
Women want to use ecologically sound products.
Hide and Seek
“I would love to have a cell phone which I could easily find within the depths of my
Many women have a problem with finding their ringing mobiles in time when searching through their bags or purses.
“I rely heavily on my cell phone. I don‘t know a single telephone number by heart. If I lose my mobile, I lose all of my friends!”
Cell phones serve as centralized contact-management tools.
I don‘t always want to give out my “real” number but would rather use an encoded one when at a dance club or when making travel arrangements, for instance.
A personal telephone number is viewed as private information which should not be given out freely to everybody.
“Sometimes I act as if I were sending a text message or talking with someone in order to get out of having to make small-talk or having a conversation with someone.”
Women also use mobiles indirectly, as a means of avoiding contact.