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Interacting with Computers


In recent years, research into gender differences has established that individual differences in how people problem-solve often cluster by gender. Research also shows that these differences have direct implications for software that aims to support users’ problem-solving activities, and that much of this software is more supportive of problem-solving processes favored (statistically) more by males than by females. However, there is almost no work considering how software practitioners—such as User Experience (UX) professionals or software developers—can find genderinclusiveness issues like these in their software. To address this gap, we devised the GenderMag method for evaluating problem-solving software from a gender-inclusiveness perspective. The method includes a set of faceted personas that bring five facets of gender difference research to life, and embeds use of the personas into a concrete process through a gender-specialized Cognitive Walkthrough. Our empirical results show that a variety of practitioners who design software— without needing any background in gender research—were able to use the GenderMag method to find gender-inclusiveness issues in problem-solving software. Our results also show that the issues the practitioners found were real and fixable. This work is the first systematic method to find gender-inclusiveness issues in software, so that practitioners can design and produce problem solving software that is more usable by everyone.


walkthrough evaluations, software inclusiveness





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© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Computer Society.


Archived as published.



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