How would computers be different… UPDATE

A week or two ago I wrote the entry below, wondering how computers would be different if women had created them.  It was in response to a post Meg wrote about Dell’s new “women friendly” website.

You know how once you start thinking about something, you see examples of it everywhere?  That’s now the case with the issue of marketing computers to women.  On the Skytrain platform yesterday I saw a three-panel ad from HP announcing the new HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition. 


Note that with every purchase you get a chance to win a package tour to Japan Fashion Week in Tokyo worth 130,000 baht (about $3800).

It’s like they have just decided to embrace the stereotypes in a bear-hug, as opposed to Dell’s attempt to go the “Sex and the City” or “The View” approach.

Original post:

Della 2 After reading and responding to a fun post by Meg about Dell Computers’ awkward attempt to appeal to women through their Della site, a question came to mind: How would computers be different if they had originally been designed by women instead of (mostly) men?

Della 1

I’m not looking for snappy answers, although you can feel free to share them.  I’m genuinely curious about how the shape, form, function, interface and feel of computers would have been different had they emerged from the garages (kitchens?  sewing rooms?) of women.


0 thoughts on “How would computers be different… UPDATE

  1. I know I wouldn’t make it so rectangular. The shape of the laptop might look more like a the shape of a compact mirror…but that sounds so gender stereotyping that I’m not even sure that would be true. Surely, there would be more color variation and the surface of the laptops would be more jelly-like (like my cell phone covers).

  2. Outside of shape and design, which I agree would probably be softer and less like a box, I think the actual functionality of computers would be way different.  I think a lot of the social media type of stuff and a lot of the Google technology, which looks at what you’re reading or writing and suggests related things, would have been introduced much earlier.
    This is because they are more networking, group-oriented and social, which I think are qualities that would have crossed their mind had a cadre of female geeks been the ones designing the first personal computers.

  3. Good question, but as my wife is also on the computer at various times I think I will refrain from answering in order to avoid incrimination. (or maybe recrimination)

  4. Ops… sorry, spelling error.  See what I mean by my statement…  mistake, error and tear is our very best friends.
    We women are FAMOUS of making a very simple thing become miserable difficult and complicated, I think I am better off without knowing!

  5. Depending on the aesthetics of the women, perhaps, the computers would tell you that you look good today, and play some beautiful music to calm your nerves, and then, only then get to the nitty gritty of the techno world and show the excellent performance of the computers. And of course there will be a lot of creativity and logic and super fast performance.

  6. I’m definitely not the kind of woman that the ad is targeting, but I find the ad campaign amusing. I agree with your point that if a group of female geeks were designing the first personal computers, many of the functions would make networking easier. If any of those female geeks were moms, the computers would be nearly indestructible… or at least toddler-resistant.I think if I were to design a computer it would be very similar to my Mac. Simple in design and operation with the ability to multi-task without affecting performance. If I could design a laptop, it would have a screen that could be positioned as easily as the last generation iMac with a telescoping & pivoting monitor. Or the monitor & keyboard portions could separate to make typing from the couch or bed easier. Maybe that’s just the laziness in me talking…

  7. @alextebow – Those are interesting thoughts – the idea of being able to separate the two portions makes sense, especially if the monitor portion had some sort of easy built-in stand, like a kick-stand?

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