TECH

Women Actually Like Pink Gadgets And Laptops

02/03/2012 12:32 | Updated 02 March 2012

Alongside Asus' astounding Padfone at Mobile World Congress, the firm showed two pink Zenbook Ultrabooks. One is hot pink, one is a delicate rose gold. Both are rigid, powerful and light.

But most of all, they are pink.

The initial reaction amongst many tech critics, particularly females, is 'pink, how condescending! how outrageous, how demeaning!'.

It's easy, and often logical, to be outraged at lame efforts from tech companies to grasp at the female consumer market by slapping a pretty colour on any product.

So perhaps surprisingly, an author has shown that women actually, scientifically, like pink.

Dr Gloria Moss, Reader in Human Resources at Bucks New University, told The Huffington Post in an interview: "There's a very strong tendency for men to prefer hard, rectangular and dark shapes. While women showed a preference towards more curved, and pink design.

"I don't think it's anything for women to be afraid of that women like different colours, because the roots of the colour preference take womens' responsibility beyond hearth and home. The differences have their origins in the different activities carried out by men and women over the ages," she says.

Moss used a range of website designs created by men and women to test her hypothesis amongst a sample group of students at Oxford.

Without guidance, men veered towards the linear, rectangular designs, while women preferred colourful designs with large images.

"Women prefered rounded shapes, and less linear shapes. I think this goes back to hunter gatherer days. Mens visual apperntice is built for hunting prey. If you think about it, when you're hunting you're looking at a distant horizon, and you don't see much colour on the horizion, but you do see the lines."

"Back for hundreds of thousands of years, women needed to be attuned to colour and to round shapes. They were gatherers, so they needed to see the round shapes of berries, and when looking after families, babies. So I think womens eyes are attuned to round shapes.

Moss looked into the psychology of men and womens visual perception and found that men have better 3D vision. "Amazing research from America says that some women have a fourth colour pigment. Which means that instead of seeing millions of colours, they see hundreds of millions of colours," she adds.

As for pink itself, Moss also believes that watching out for viscous colours of pink, and red, was crucial for hunter gatherer women. They had to watch for bloody injuries, signs of agression, fever and the scarlet of childbirth to ensure their people survived.

Moss says 8% of men worldwide are colourblind, which during hunting gives you the advantage of fewer distractions. Only .5% of women are colourblind.

"When you look at who is predominantly in charge of the technology industry, and the design of the phones and devices we're sold, it's not surprising they're all black and linear," she says.

The demand for visually different products is not just scientific, consumers are demanding it. Last year HTC found that their female customers demanded the ability to place a personal screensaver on their phones, where that feature has been sidelined in recent device releases.

Despite the research, it's insufficient for tech firms to just slap a coat of pink on their products and hope to attract a female customer.

The new pink and rose gold Asus Zenbook Ultrabooks are not just pretty, they're impressive. The most rigid Ultrabooks we've seen, they weigh just 1.3kg, pack a Intel Core i7/i5 processor, operate in always on mode for an impressive two weeks (storing data to memory then backing up to hard drive) and are just 3mm at the front and 9mm at the back.

They're much more than just a pretty (pink) face.

Read more on Gloria Moss' work on gendered design in her book Gender, Design and Marketing: How Gender Drives Our Perception of Design and Marketing

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